NEW YORK (AP) — That was quick.
Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash scored 4 seconds apart late in the second period, tying a New York Rangers record, and Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves Sunday in a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Lundqvist extended his franchise mark with his 51st career shutout as the Rangers (3-3-0) won their second consecutive game after losing three straight. He preserved the whitewash by denying Patrick Marleau late in the third period with an acrobatic save after dropping his stick.
“It was probably our most complete game of the year,” said Lundqvist, aided by defenseman Matt Hunwick sweeping a loose puck away from the goal line in the first period. “The last couple of games we have been playing better as a group and making smart decisions.”
Carl Hagelin and Kevin Hayes also scored for New York, which handed the Sharks (4-1-1) their first loss in regulation this season.
“We didn’t have the grit and determination we needed to have against this team in this situation,” coach Todd McLellan said. “The game was there for the taking and we didn’t take it.”
Hagelin opened the scoring at 13:01 of the second with his first of the season, knocking his own rebound past Sharks goalie Alex Stalock. The goal awakened a quiet crowd at Madison Square Garden following an unusual 5 p.m. local start time.
St. Louis made it 2-0 at 19:16 with his first of the season, jamming the puck past Stalock in the crease. McLellan argued vehemently, but the goal was upheld after review.
The Rangers won the ensuing faceoff and Nash immediately shot the puck on goal. Stalock couldn’t contain the rebound and Nash put it in for his league-leading seventh of the season at 19:20.
“After that big goal, we wanted to get the puck in deep and something good happened,” Nash said. “When things go right, it’s a simple game.”
The two goals 4 seconds apart set a Rangers record for the fastest pair without one being an empty-netter. Kris King and James Patrick scored 4 seconds apart on Oct. 9, 1991, against the New York Islanders, with Patrick’s going into an empty net.
Nash extended his torrid start, which includes points in five of the Rangers’ first six games. He already became the first player in franchise history with goals in the first four games of the season.
Hayes added an unassisted goal at 7:18 of the third — the first of his career — to make it 4-0.
“I should have had one earlier on, but it finally went in,” said the 22-year-old Hayes, a Boston College teammate of linemate Chris Kreider. “I hope it’s a springboard into something special.”
The Rangers lost the first two games of their homestead while allowing six goals to both Toronto and the Islanders before stopping Carolina 2-1 in a shootout on Thursday.
The Sharks beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Saturday night and were playing for the third time in four days. They continue their five-game trip at Boston on Tuesday.
“They’ve been on the road for a while, so we wanted to play our physical, focused game,” Lundqvist said. “They didn’t give us much, but we didn’t give them almost anything. Sooner or later we knew we were going to create a big chance to score.”
The teams played a listless first period, with the Rangers outshooting the Sharks 7-5. The Rangers had a 17-15 shots advantage in a more energetic second.
The Rangers reworked their lines, with St. Louis going back to his usual spot on right wing, skating with Derick Brassard at center and Mats Zuccarello on the left.
St. Louis played center for the first five games with the Rangers missing Derek Stepan, who broke his left leg during training camp.
Hayes centered Nash and Kreider, and Dominic Moore skated between Lee Stempniak and Hagelin. Moore, a former Shark, had two assists.
Chris Mueller made his Rangers debut, centering Ryan Malone and Tanner Glass.
Stalock started after Antti Niemi played in the win over the Devils. Stalock made 42 saves in a shootout loss to Islanders on Thursday.
NOTES: The teams meet again Jan. 10 in San Jose. ... New York scratched rookie forward Anthony Duclair and defenseman Michael Kostka. ... San Jose sat forwards John Scott and James Sheppard, and defenseman Scott Hannan.