San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
By Matthew T.F. Harrington
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Tuesday night, but the outcome had little to do with San Jose snapping a six-game skid in a stirring 5-4 overtime win over the New York Rangers. No, thanks to luck around the league, the Sharks had already clinched their spot in postseason play, though sights remain set on winning the Pacific Division.
Brent Burns scored the game-winner in overtime, Chris Tierney had a pair of goals and Mikkel Boedker had two assists for the Sharks. Jannik Hansen scored his first goal in a Sharks jersey while New York’s JT Miller had a pair of goals for the Gothamites, another team that clinched a spot in postseason play Tuesday night. San Jose blew a 3-1 lead but scored with just over two minutes left in regulation to tie the game.
Hansen opened the game with a goal 1:44 into play, but the Rangers tied the game up after Miller intercepted a pass and beat Martin Jones with 6:30 left in the period. Special teams, a strong suit for the Sharks Tuesday, put the team ahead 2-1 after Melker Karlsson potted a short-handed goal with 1:59 left in the first.
Chris Tierney would pick up his first goal of the game, and 8th of the season, after stepping in the lane and stealing a pass. He busted through the offensive zone, beating Henrik Lundquist with 8:22 left in the period. The Rangers answered back with a late power play goal, their first of two strikes in 3 opportunities after Derek Stepan fired a one-timer on a cross-ice pass from Mats Zuccarello with 22 seconds left in the period.
The Rangers would the game 1:24 into the third period with Jesper Fast tipping a Brady Skjei shot past Jones. They’d add the next goal on the man-advantage, with JT Miller scoring his 22nd goal of the year 4:44 into the period. Tierney would answer back with his second of the game with 2:15 left in regulation on a scramble in the goal mouth.
With Nick Holden off for holding the stick in overtime, the Sharks made New York pay. Patrick Marleau fed Joe Pavelski the puck, allowing the Sharks captain to walk the blue line, setting up a Burns one-timer. With Burns just below the faceoff dot on Lundquist’s right, the surefire Norris Candidate ripped a game-winning rocket to snap the Sharks win woes.
San Jose gets the opportunity to face a team battling for the division lead Thursday night. San Jose travels to Edmonton to play the penultimate contest against Connor McDavid’s squad in the season series.