SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves just hours after getting passed over for the All-Star game and the New York Rangers completed a rare California sweep by beating the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Saturday night.
Chris Kreider scored one goal and set up Martin St. Louis for another for the Rangers, who have 13 wins in 14 games for the first time since 1973. That includes wins in a four-day span at Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose — the first time New York has even beaten those three teams on the road in the same season.
Rick Nash added an empty-net goal to seal it.
Melker Karlsson joined Jeff Friesen as the only Sharks rookies ever to score goals in five straight games when he converted on the power play in the third period. Antti Niemi made 28 saves.
Even the return of Joe Thornton couldn’t help the Sharks, who were coming off a second 7-2 loss to St. Louis in a six-day span. Thornton missed four games with a shoulder injury and the power play looked impotent in his absence with one goal on 19 attempts.
San Jose looked sharp on its first power play against the Rangers in the first period, but couldn’t get anything past Lundqvist, who responded to his All-Star game snub by reaching 20 wins for a 10th straight season.
That’s the way it went for most of the night as Lundqvist was outstanding, including getting a piece of Joe Pavelski’s shot from alone in the slot midway through the second to keep the game 2-0.
The Rangers missed a chance to add to the lead early in the third when Niemi made a spectacular glove save along the goal line to rob Mats Zuccarello. The play went under a lengthy replay review before being upheld to the dismay of the Rangers.
The Sharks then converted on the power play just minutes later when Karlsson knocked in a rebound of James Sheppard’s shot to get the Sharks back into it.
The game marked the return to San Jose for defenseman Dan Boyle, who became the franchise’s career leader in points by a defenseman in his six years with the Sharks. Boyle got cut on his opening shift and had to go to the locker room. But he was back later in the first for a video tribute that was followed by a long ovation and stick tapping from both teams.
The Rangers took nearly 10 minutes to get their first shot on goal but still ended up ahead 2-0 after the first period, thanks to a pair of faceoff wins in the offensive zone by Derek Stepan against Thornton.
The first came midway through the period after San Jose was called for icing when Patrick Marleau missed on an up-ice pass to Matt Nieto. Stepan won the faceoff and Kreider tapped the puck to St. Louis, who knocked it in from the slot to make it 1-0.
Later in the period, Kreider tipped a shot by Dan Girardi on goal after a faceoff win and then tapped in the rebound.
NOTES: Rangers F Rick Nash and Sharks D Brent Burns were picked for the All-Star game. … The Rangers improved to 18-0-1 when leading after two periods. … Friesen had his streak in 1994-95.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.