At a glance: After ending a two-game skid with a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night, the New York Rangers return home from a three-game road trip to host one of the hottest teams in the league in the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks, cruising along with a 9-1-1 record in their last 11 games, wrap up a three-game road trip Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Riding a five-game winning streak, the Sharks are just two points behind the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division standings. But while the Sharks are in good shape to lock up a playoff spot out West, the Blueshirts are still fighting to stay among the top eight in the Eastern Conference standings.
Tight race: With the Philadelphia Flyers beating the Pittsburgh Penguins just a few hours before puck drop at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers dropped to the last wild card playoff spot in the East. And don't forget that Detroit, Washington and New Jersey are still nipping at the Rangers' heels as well, making Sunday's game even more important for their playoff hopes.
Crowning achievement: Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist earned his 301st NHL win against the Jets Friday night, tying legendary netminder Mike Richter’s franchise record. That means Lundqvist will have the chance Sunday to become the team’s all-time wins leader. Lundqvist is also tied with another Rangers icon, Eddie Giacomin, with 49 career shutouts.
No goal: Since his shocking trade-deadline day acquisition, veteran forward Martin St. Louis has yet to score his first goal as a New York Ranger. The 38-year-old winger, brought to Broadway in a deal that sent former captain Ryan Callahan and a pair of picks to Tampa Bay in exchange, has registered two assists in a Blueshirt but hasn’t found the same sort of offensive productivity that made him a force in Tampa. The defending Art Ross Trophy winner, who will play on a line Sunday with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, is eighth in the NHL in goals with 29.
Last time around: The last time these two teams met, the Rangers were absolutely humiliated by a 9-2 rout in which Thomas Hertl tallied four goals. The last of those four goals is one the Rangers are loathe to forget; the rookie ruffled some feathers with a between-the-legs moves and a zealous celebration to that followed. Rick Nash sustained a concussion in that game after a nasty elbow to the head from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart, so don’t be surprised if there are some concerns of retribution in this game.