SAN JOSE –- Throw enough frozen rubber at Henrik Lundqvist, they’re bound to start going in eventually.
After the Rangers’ goalie kept his club in the game for two periods, the Sharks erupted for three goals in the third in downing New York on Saturday afternoon, 4-1.
San Jose registered a season-high 52 shots on goal, doubling up the 26 by New York. It was the first of a season-long six-game homestand for the Sharks.
Joe Thornton gave San Jose a lead it would not relinquish.
After Tomas Hertl thundered past Dan Girardi and drove the puck to the net, Thornton swooped in and hammered home the rebound at 5:45 to make it 2-1.
[PACIFIC RACE: As season winds down, do Ducks have goalie controversy?]
That lead increased less than two minutes later. Joel Ward’s shot on a rush crept just over the line for his second goal of the day at 7:34, after he had gone 11 straight without one.
Joe Pavelski’s team-leading 33rd goal upped the cushion to a comfortable three goals, when he finished off a two-on-none with Hertl, who ended the afternoon with three assists.
The Sharks got to within five points of first place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division and one point of second place Anaheim. The Kings host the Bruins later on Saturday.
The Sharks were without defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body) and Matt Nieto (hand), who were both injured on Thursday. Neither is expected to be out long term, per coach Pete DeBoer.
Dylan DeMelo returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 22, paired with Vlasic’s partner, Justin Braun. Up front, Tommy Wingels played for the first time since suffering a sprained shoulder on Feb. 18 in Florida.
The Sharks controlled the pace for most of the first two periods, but came out of it tied at 1-1.
A power play goal by Ward opened the scoring, on one of the prettiest setups of the year. Charging around the net with the puck, Joonas Donskoi backhanded it across the grain to an open Ward, who smacked it through at 7:50 of the second period.
Lundqvist helped the Rangers survive a Sharks onslaught immediately after the goal. He denied Melker Karlsson on a two-on-one rush with 11:20 to go, ate up a Hertl shot about a minute later, and managed to hold his ground on a Brent Burns partial breakaway after Burns blocked a Chris Kreider shot and raced ahead with about seven minutes to go.
The equalizing goal came courtesy of longtime Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, who finished off a two-on-one with Derick Brassard. Brenden Dillon went sliding to the ice between the circle and couldn’t break up the pass, while Patrick Marleau was a bit too casual in getting back on the play.
The Sharks snapped a three-game losing streak to New York, incuding a 4-0 defeat at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 19.
San Jose went 1-for-3 on the power play, and is 4-for-16 over the last six games. The Rangers were 0-for-2.
Five of Ward’s 19 goals have come on the power play.
Jones improved to 19-6-2 in his last 27 starts, allowing just one goal.
Lundqvist was pulled after Pavelski’s goal, allowing four goals on 47 shots. Antti Raanta had mop-up duty, making five saves.
Marleau played in his 1400th career game, becoming the youngest player in league history to play all of them with one franchise (36 years, 186 days).
Wingels slotted in on the fourth line with Dainius Zubrus and Nick Spaling, while Chris Tierney was the third line center between Marleau and Ward.
Hertl extended his point streak to four games (1g, 5a), as did Thornton (2g, 3a).
Boyle, a pending unrestricted free agent, made perhaps his final appearance at SAP Center.
The Sharks host Arizona on Sunday. San Jose has won two of the first three against its division rival, although the Coyotes skated to a 3-1 win at Gila River Arena in the most recent matchup on Thursday.