Tumble at ‘The Tank’

Sharks suffer 5-4 loss to Rangers.
SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks dipped three games under the .500 mark Monday by suffering a 5-4 loss to the New York Rangers at sold-out HP Pavilion.

The Rangers powered to a 5-2 lead after two periods and then withstood a 17-5 shots on net advantage by the Sharks in the third period to improve to 7-9-2. San Jose takes a 5-8-1-1 record into an eight-game roadtrip that opens Wednesday in Atlanta against the Eastern Conference cellar-dwelling Thrashers.

“You can’t win games giving up more than three goals in this league,” said Sharks coach Darryl Sutter.

“On 5-on-5 hockey, at critical times, twice we passed the puck to them for goals. Plays we have to make, we’re not making them and it’s costing us hockey games.”

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead at the 4:57 mark when Ronald Petrovicky deflected a shot from the blueline by Vladimir Malakhov over the shoulder of goalie Miikka Kiprusoff on a New York power play. The visitors took advantage of a soft cross-ice pass in the defensive zone by Jeff Jillson to turn a 2-1 rush into a goal by Rem Murray at 11:34.

Jillson had just 26 seconds of ice time in the second period, none in the third period as Sutter spent most of the final period using two sets of defensemen.

The Rangers made the most of nine shots on net in the second period, scoring three goals for a 5-2 lead.

San Jose needed just 10 seconds of the second period to score on the power play. Winger Marco Sturm created the scoring opportunity when his forecheck behind the New York net dislodged the puck from Ranger Sylvain Lefebvre. Sturm dropped the puck back to the point to Mike Rathje, who drilled a puck toward Sturm 10 feet to the left on the crease. Sturm’s redirection sent the puck behind goalie Daniel Blackburn.

Two Ranger goals within a three-minute span expanded the lead to three goals, 4-1. Brian Leetch fond the lower left corner of the net to score on a shot from the blueline through traffic at 5:56. Ted Donato tipped a Rico Fata shot from the blueline past Kiprusoff at 8:24.

San Jose made it 4-2 at 9:17 when Teemu Selanne tipped a Marco Sturm shot from the right boards past Blackburn. The Rangers regained a three-goal edge when Murray scored on another redirection effort in the slot at 16:49.

Mike Ricci netted his sixth goal of the season 4:35 into the third period when he guided Bryan Marchment’s shot from the blueline inside the left goalpost.

Patrick Marleau was awarded a penalty shot 10:02 into the period when he was tripped while carrying the puck toward the net. Marleau wristed the puck past Blackburn’s blocker for a 5-4 score.

“We didn’t come out with a lot of fire, we came out flat again,” said Sharks captain Owen Nolan. “It’s good that it’s a long season, but we’ve got to get it together soon.”

“We’ll take it one game at a time and get back to good road hockey,” said Todd Harvey. “Play good defense, be solid all-around.”

The Sharks have 12 points in the 13th position in the Western Conference, trailing the eighth-place teams by four points. The next home game for the Sharks is Saturday Nov. 30 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

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