The New York Rangers needed nine games to find their second win of the season.
On Monday, the Rangers will attempt to win consecutive games for the first time this season when they host the San Jose Sharks.
The Rangers (2-5-2) snapped a five-game losing streak (or extended their points streak to three games, depending on the perspective) with a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon.
Three players — Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast and Jimmy Vesey — finally scored their first goals of the season and now the Rangers are looking to build on a win over the final two games of this six-game homestand.
“We talked about it the last couple of games — we were one play away from getting a win,” Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. “You can do so many good things to try to get confidence and try to get a good feeling in here, but it in the end it comes down to winning games.
“But this was coming. We’ve had a couple of games now where we’ve been close and it was just a matter of time. Finally, we get the two points here, take a deep breath and then we go after another two points on Monday.”
The Rangers are hardly in a position to take anyone lightly but the Sharks (3-4-0) have struggled to find consistency this season and will be playing a third road game in four nights when they touch the ice at Madison Square Garden. They are coming off a 5-3 loss to the Islanders in Brooklyn that saw them allow three goals in the third period.
The Sharks also have their share of players off to slow starts. Mikkel Boedker has just one goal in seven games while defenseman Brent Burns has zero goals in seven games after scoring 29 last season on the way to a Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman. He had just two points in six games before picking up two assists against the Islanders.
“I’m not worried about it at all,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told the San Jose Mercury News. “He’s getting some really good looks. They’re going to go in eventually. We’re only seven games in.”
“He wants to score and I’m sure he feels some pressure from the numbers he put up last year,” Sharks center Logan Couture told the Mercury News. “But he made some great looks and the puck’s eventually going to start to go in for him.”
The Rangers will get a road-weary Sharks team but they will have to avoid a letdown after a hard-fought win.
“I don’t think relief is the right word,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said after his team beat the Predators. “I mean, obviously we felt we deserved a better outcome, especially in the last three games. The process was there, the work was there.”
“You definitely enjoy winning, and we haven’t been doing that a lot,” Hayes told the New York Post. “Hopefully this is a springboard to a lot more.”