Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 11/18

Game 1: Tuesday, November 18th

Rangers 2

(6-6-2, 18 pts)

Sharks 2

(3-6-2, 16 pts)

10:30 PM ET, November 18, 2003

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 OT T
NYR 0 2 0 02
SJ 0 0 2 02

P. Marleau (Sharks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

M. Sturm (Sharks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

B. Holik (Rangers - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Tie kings winless at home in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The New York Rangers could use a better finishing touch. The San Jose Sharks always seem to finish the same way these days.

Marco Sturm scored a power-play goal with 9:01 left in regulation to give the Sharks their NHL-leading eighth tie, 2-2 with the Rangers on Tuesday night.

The game followed a familiar script for both teams: New York blew a late lead, and San Jose fell behind early and couldn't quite rally for a win. Both coaches were moderately pleased, and every player thought his team should have won.

That's how it usually goes after ties, and the Sharks are learning plenty about them.

"I don't know any answers. Just use the same answers from the last three games," said Sturm, who scored his fourth goal in four games. "After we scored, we all woke up again, like we have all season."

Bobby Holik and Chris Simon scored 17 seconds apart in the second period for the Rangers, who blew a two-goal lead but still kept the Sharks winless in nine home games this season.

Late-game lapses are becoming a habit: Earlier in the month, New York blew third-period leads over Philadelphia and Colorado at home.

"We're doing a good job getting up in these games, but we have to find a way to close them," Holik said. "We could use Mariano Rivera."

Jussi Markkanen made 31 saves for the Rangers, who gave an aggressive, tight-checking effort before San Jose came back with two third-period goals. The Sharks had a power play for the final 80 seconds of overtime but couldn't get a shot.

Alex Korolyuk also scored for the Sharks before leaving with an apparent injury from a knee-on-knee hit by Jamie Lundmark. Sharks coach Ron Wilson said Korolyuk got "submarined," but both Lundmark and Rangers coach Glen Sather said they thought the hit was legal.

San Jose dropped to 0-3-5-1 at home -- but their third-period effort was a marked change from their usual defense-oriented, slow-developing play of recent weeks. San Jose instead forechecked with abandon, and the effort yielded Korolyuk's goal.

"The first two periods, we weren't skating," Wilson said. "In the third, we started playing with the passion you need for 60 minutes. We should have pushed the pace on that team. We didn't have any physical presence until the third."

Sather praised his team's all-around effort in its third game in four nights, but his players lamented their defensive play in the third.

"If we're guilty of one thing, we didn't get in front of people to obstruct the forecheck in the third period," captain Mark Messier said. "You've got to realize they're going to come with more people and have a more concerted effort to get back in the game."

At 3-6-8-2 overall, the Sharks have the fewest victories and the most ties in the NHL. They had just nine ties last season.

Holik got his fifth goal of the season in the second period, tapping home the rebound of Alexei Kovalev's wraparound shot on Vesa Toskala. Evgeni Nabokov's backup made 29 saves in his second straight start for the Sharks.

Moments later, Simon got his third goal of the season on his own rebound.

But Markkanen lost his shutout bid in the third period when Korolyuk sneaked behind Messier to receive a pretty pass from Alyn McCauley. Korolyuk put a quick shot into the corner of the net with 15:02 left for his second goal of the season.

Sturm then tied it 20 seconds into a power play, slipping in front of the net from the corner and flipping a backhand into the top of the net. He leads the Sharks with seven goals.

Game notes

Rangers C Eric Lindros missed his third straight game with a scratched cornea. He has been put on injured reserve but could return Thursday vs. Colorado. ... Messier got his 1,171st career assist on Simon's goal. He trails only Wayne Gretzky and Ron Francis. ... RW Todd Harvey returned to the Sharks on Tuesday night after beginning the season with their top affiliate in Cleveland. Harvey, a nine-year veteran who played with the Rangers, went unclaimed through waivers after losing his roster spot to Nils Ekman in training camp.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press