The San Jose Sharks are rather comfortable - and quite productive - on the road.
A visit to renovated Madison Square Garden and the sputtering New York Rangers may keep it that way.
Enjoying their longest road winning streak in two seasons, the Sharks try to complete an unbeaten six-game trip road trip when they face the Rangers on Monday night.
San Jose (6-3-0) opened its trip Oct. 21 by beating New Jersey 4-3 in a shootout and ending a three-game losing streak. The Sharks haven’t lost since, turning a seemingly daunting stretch into their longest road winning streak since taking nine in a row Dec. 21, 2009-Feb. 8, 2010.
Brent Burns’(notes) third goal of the season gave them a 3-2 overtime win against the New York Islanders on Saturday. Joe Pavelski(notes) added a goal and an assist, giving him five goals and four assists in his last four games after failing to record a point in his previous three. Pavelski’s seven goals and 11 points lead the Sharks.
Meanwhile, Logan Couture(notes) appears to be re-establishing himself as one of the top young players in the NHL after his 32 goals and 56 points earned him a 2010-11 Calder Trophy nomination. The left wing, who scored against the Islanders, has three goals and two assists in his last five contests after managing only one point in his previous four.
Niemi has won all four of his starts on the current road trip while posting a 1.96 GAA in those contests.
The Sharks, who fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Rangers (3-3-3) at home March 12, are visiting MSG for the first time since a 7-3 victory Oct. 19, 2009.
New York is still seeking its first home win after opening the season with a seven-game road trip (3-2-2) that spanned three countries and 10 time zones due to renovations at the Garden.
The Rangers seemed headed for their first home victory Saturday, but blew a three-goal, third-period lead over Ottawa before falling 5-4 in a shootout.
“We didn’t get the job done,” coach John Tortorella said. “It’s on us to keep working. Some of the details of our game are still weak and until we get that solid foundation of the details we will sputter.”
Brad Richards(notes) is looking to build on his best performance since joining the Rangers as a free agent from Dallas last summer. The center had two goals and one assist against the Senators after finding the net once in the first eight games of the season.
Richards had one goal and three assists in five meetings with San Jose in 2010-11.