SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)Bob Boughner’s debut as interim coach of the San Jose Sharks appeared to be heading in a good direction until Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin took over in the third period.
Zibanejad scored the tying and go-ahead goals in less than five minutes, Panarin added two insurance goals to complete a hat trick and the New York Rangers spoiled Boughner’s first game by beating the Sharks 6-3 on Thursday night.
”Tonight wasn’t good enough once again,” San Jose captain Logan Couture said. ”Unfortunately that’s been the script for the last while here. We’ve really got to look in the mirror and start playing winning hockey.”
Jesper Fast also scored and Alexandar Georgiev made 15 saves to help the Rangers win for the seventh time in 11 games.
”We almost gave them the game but we had a good answer for their game,” Zibanejad said. ”At the beginning of the year we really didn’t have answers for falling behind during the game and we couldn’t find a way to get our momentum back. But now we’re finding ways to crawl back into games.”
Tomas Hertl, Couture and Brenden Dillon scored for San Jose but it wasn’t enough to end a losing streak that stretched to six games. Martin Jones made 24 saves.
This recent skid led to the decision by general manager Doug Wilson to fire Peter DeBoer for his first midseason coaching change in more than 16 years at the helm in San Jose.
”It’s been a couple of crazy days for everybody, not just the coaches but the players and the organization,” Boughner said. ”You could see that a little bit in the third period – we ran out of a little bit of gas.”
The Sharks seemed in position to get the spark Wilson was seeking when Dillon ended his 106-game stretch without a goal by scoring the tiebreaker early in the third.
But Zibanejad tied it when he scored on a power play with 11:11 to play after Barclay Goodrow was called for tripping, and then gave the Rangers the lead with 6:50 to go when he beat Jones from the left circle after San Jose had trouble clearing the puck from the defensive zone.
Panarin added his second with 3:11 left, shortly after San Jose failed to capitalize on a power play, and then sealed it with an empty-netter for his third career hat trick.
”When we went down 3-2 we really started to show some things we hadn’t shown a lot this year,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. ”We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves and we were able to climb up from the hole. Once we tied it up, we became relentless out on the ice. You could feel the momentum change on our bench when we tied it at 3.”
The day started with the Sharks formally introducing Boughner as their new interim coach a day after firing DeBoer less than seven months after he led San Jose to the Western Conference Final.
Boughner implemented a couple of changes, including playing Joe Thornton and Hertl on a line together, before heading out for his first game in charge in San Jose.
The Sharks ended a four-game stretch without holding a lead when Hertl scored a short-handed goal when he opted to shoot on an odd-man rush midway through the first after Jones made a good stop on Zibanejad.
San Jose nearly added to that lead on the power play when Brent Burns’ point shot hit the post, then bounced off Georgiev and was trickling toward the goal line when Marc Staal cleared it just before it crossed.
The Rangers scored twice in the second period to take the lead, with Filip Chytil setting up Fast in the slot after skating around Dylan Gambrell and then Ryan Strome setting up Panarin for his 16th of the season.
Couture tied it for San Jose a few minutes later off a pass from Timo Meier.
NOTES: Panarin’s two other hat tricks came against the Rangers, in 2016 with Chicago and 2018 with Columbus. … Thornton played in his 1,600th game. Sharks teammate Patrick Marleau has played 1,687 games, and they are the first teammates in NHL history to play in the same game with each having at least 1,600 regular-season games to their credit. … Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux missed the game after getting banged up Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Rangers: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Sharks: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
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