(Sports Network) - Points have been coming in bunches lately for the Pacific Division-leading Sharks. After battling for one last time out, San Jose closes out a six-game homestand this evening against the playoff-hopeful New York Rangers at HP Pavilion.
The Sharks are 9-1-1 in their last 11 games and 18-3-2 over the past 23 contests, helping them take a three-point lead over the Stars for the top spot in the division. San Jose also sits third overall in the Western Conference and just three points behind Detroit for the second seed.
The club did fall to 3-1-1 on its homestand with Thursday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Canucks, but earned the point by getting game-tying goals from Torrey Mitchell and Ryane Clowe in the third period. Clowe's second goal of the contest came with just 21 seconds left in regulation.
"We showed we're resilient," said Joe Thornton. "It sucks that we don't get the extra point, but I thought we played really, really well."
Devin Setoguchi also scored and Antti Niemi made 24 saves in his 23rd straight start. The San Jose netminder has never before faced the Rangers.
The Sharks were without defenseman Dan Boyle for a sixth straight game due to an upper-body injury and he is questionable for tonight.
San Jose has won back-to-back games over New York since a six-game series winless streak (0-4-1 with a tie) and the clubs will meet tonight for the first time since the Sharks' 7-3 road win on Oct. 19 of last season. Setoguchi scored twice and had an assist in that outing.
These two teams haven't met at HP Pavilion since Dec. 20, 2008, when the Sharks halted a four-game series home winless streak (0-3 with a tie).
New York will try to avoid a third straight loss in this series tonight and bounce back from Wednesday's 5-2 loss in Anaheim. The Rangers had won two straight before that outing, including a 7-0 romp of the Flyers on Sunday.
Brandon Dubinsky matched a career high set last season with his 20th goal, Marian Gaborik scored andVinny Prospal had an assist to give him a goal and five helpers over a five-game point streak. Henrik Lundqvistwas charged with five goals on 33 shots, though a handful of the goals came on shots that hit off his own players.
"They got a few lucky bounces there that got us off track a bit," said New York's Dan Girardi, who saw one of Anaheim's goals go off his skate and past Lundqvist. "But our effort wasn't really there tonight and it just wasn't a good effort from us."
New York had a three-game road winning streak end and is tied with Buffalo for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with 74 points each. Ninth-place Carolina is two points off the pace and is also in action today.
Lundqvist has split a pair of decisions versus the Sharks, going 1-1 with a 2.59 goals-against average in three career games against them. He did not start last year's meeting, but saw action in relief.