For the third straight game, Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist as the New York Rangers beat the San Jose Sharks 6-4 on Monday night.
Kreider, who signed a four-year, $18.5 million contract on July 22, has three goals and three assists in New York’s first three games. According to the team, he is the first Ranger since Brian Leetch in 1992-93 to tally six points in New York’s first three games. He also became the first New York forward to record six points in three games to start a season since Bernie Nicholls and Darren Turcotte in 1990-91.
Marc Staal, Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes, rookie Jimmy Vesey, Mats Zuccarello and Michael Grabner also scored for the Rangers, who have won two of their first three games this season.
Tied 1-1 early in the second period, New York took a lead for good on Nash’s first of the season 4:15 of the period. The sequence began when Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh’s shot ricocheted off the end boards to Nash, who was in front of Martin Jones’ net.
Jones finished with 22 saves.
The lead grew to 3-1 6:06 later when Kreider’s off-wing drive ticked off Jones’ stick and into the net.
New York was 1 for 3 on the power play, and San Jose was 1 for 4.
Staal’s one-timer 12:06 into the game put the Rangers ahead 1-0.
Following Staal’s goal, though, the Sharks outshot the Rangers 7-2 for the remainder of the period, culminated by Logan Couture’s 5-on-3 power-play tap-in with 57.5 seconds left.
San Jose, which lost for the first time in three games this season, cut the deficit to 3-2 on Brent Burns’ second of the season at 9:13 of the third.
New York struck back quickly as Hayes and Vesey scored 21 seconds apart to push the lead to 5-2. The goals were the first of the season for both, and for Vesey, the first of his NHL career. The Rangers signed the Hobey Baker Award winner from Harvard to a two-year, free agent contract on Aug. 19.
The tack-on goals were significant as Burns scored his second of the game 1:20 after Vesey scored, followed by Joe Pavelski’s first of the season at 15:31.
Zuccarello and Grabner added empty net goals.
New York goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves on 30 shots.
NOTES: New York played without D Dan Girardi and D Kevin Klein, along with rookie LW Pavel Buchnevich, due to injuries. Before the morning skate, the Rangers announced Girardi was day-to-day with a strained groin and Buchnevich had back spasms. Klein has missed the first three games of the season with back spasms. … San Jose scratched D Dylan DeMelo, and C Ryan Carpenter and C Micheal Haley. . Saturday Night Live actor Michael Che was among the announced 18,006 in attendance.
RANGERS: host Detroit in a nationally televised game Wednesday night.
SHARKS: visit Brooklyn on Tuesday night for a game against the New York Islanders.