Rookie Tomas Hertl looks to continue his strong play when the San Jose Sharks host the New York Rangers on Tuesday. Selected with the 17th pick of the 2012 draft, Hertl has made quite an impression in his first two NHL games, notching an assist in his debut against Vancouver before scoring a pair of goals in Saturday's home victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. The 19-year-old Czech has benefited by playing on the Sharks' top line with captain Joe Thornton and converted defenseman Brent Burns.
San Jose concludes its season-opening three-game homestand against New York, which split the first two contests of its nine-game road trip. After dropping a 4-1 decision in Phoenix, the Rangers posted a 3-1 triumph over the Kings in Los Angeles on Monday as Brad Richards scored a pair of goals. New York received a boost by the return of captain Ryan Callahan, who missed most of the second period after being high-sticked in the mouth by Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), CSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (1-1-0): Callahan, who failed to register a shot on goal in 11:16 of ice time, was back in action in the third period and held no ill will toward Kopitar for the high-sticking incident. "It was accidental, obviously," Callahan said. "I think he was following through or turning. I went to hit him and caught his stick first." Richards now has two goals in as many games after netting a career-low 11 tallies in 46 contests last season.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (2-0-0): Hertl is tied with Patrick Marleau for the team lead in goals and is even with Logan Couture and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the top spot with three points apiece. He admits the game is much different in the NHL than his native country. "Everything is much quicker," Hertl told the San Jose Mercury News. "I give a pass to somebody and then suddenly, I get hit. In the Czech league, I have much more time for everything." San Jose put on its version of a shooting gallery in Saturday's triumph over Phoenix, unleashing 51 shots on Coyotes netminder Mike Smith.
1. Following Tuesday's game, the Sharks play eight of their next 10 games on the road.
2. New York RW Taylor Pyatt missed most of the first period after being hit in the face by a puck.
3. Both of San Jose's victories have been by 4-1 scores.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Rangers 2