It wasn’t the cleanest game the Sharks have played in this early 2018-19 season. And in the end, they couldn’t come out on top Thursday night against the New York Rangers.
The Sharks held on to a 2-1 lead thanks to a strong performance from Aaron Dell. But the Rangers wouldn’t go quietly, and Brendan Smith tied the game up 2-2 in the waning minutes of the third period. Defenseman Brady Skjei ended the tilt 37 seconds into overtime, as the Blueshirts skated to a 3-2 victory over Team Teal.
Here are three takeaways from San Jose's overtime loss at Madison Square Garden.
Up until the overtime loss, Aaron Dell didn’t disappoint: Dell’s glove save to stop a short-handed goal in the third period perfectly summed up his performance at MSG. He wasn’t tested as much as Lundqvist was at the other side of the ice, but the Rangers didn’t make it easy on him.
New York, desperate to get its first win of the season, had grade-A chances to find the back of the net. Heck, Brett Howden’s no-look between-the-legs goal in the first period was tricky.
Despite the ending, Dell looked good in a rare back-to-back performance.
Joonas Donskoi-Antti Suomela connection just doesn’t quit: The fellow Finns have been playing together since the preseason, and they continue to impress. Their chemistry was on display in the second period on Thursday when they connected for the go-ahead goal.
Suomela stayed patient as he carried the puck into the Rangers’ zone and waited for Donskoi to get into position. His precise pass set Donskoi up perfectly to beat Lundqvist glove side and give the league back to the Sharks.
It didn’t hurt that Suomela got an incredible feed from Brent Burns to set up the play. On that note …
Brent Burns had his best game of the season: This was the first game of the season where Burns really came alive and took control. There’s usually a spotlight on the towering defenseman when he scores goals, but his work on both ends of the puck Thursday night cannot be ignored.
Burns notched assists on both of the Sharks goals, but his work on Donskoi’s goal was the most impressive. While breaking up a Rangers’ play in the Sharks’ zone, he used incredible force to backhand the puck up the ice to Suomela to set up the go-ahead goal.
The only thing that would’ve made his night even better would be if he had found the back of the net when Erik Karlsson set him up while on the man advantage during the third frame. If that’s any indication of goals to come, the Sharks’ power play will be hard to stop.