SAN JOSE, Calif. - Alain Vigneault wants consistency and the Rangers coach stuck with the same lineup Tuesday night against the Sharks as he rolled out against the Kings on Monday night: with Henrik Lundqvist in goal and Arron Asham on the fourth line for consecutive nights.
"The ideal situation," Vigneault said, is for 60-something games for Lundqvist, "but those are ideal conditions; we don't always have that. Tonight could've been one for Martin [Biron], but the travel is not that extensive and we need to get Hank going. He needs to feel good about his game."
As in the beginning of every season, Lundqvist, who was making his third consecutive start, wants to find a rhythm, especially with the staggered preseason and regular-season travel schedule. Against the Kings, Lundqvist said, his teammates "made it a lot easier for me to play and build some confidence." Lundqvist stopped 28 of 29 shots against in Monday's 3-1 victory over the Kings.
Asham, who Vigneault hoped would bring a physical presence against the Sharks, played 9:41 Monday, with two hits and a scrap with Kyle Clifford. But the fourth line, with Dominic Moore and Derek Dorsett, was often on its heels against the Kings.
"I thought we got, for the most part, what I anticipated [from the fourth line]," Vigneault said. "They got a couple shifts in the offensive zone, Dorsett draws a penalty from [Drew] Doughty, Ash didn't like the hit that Clifford was throwing and stood up for himself, which sends a big sign, and Dom did what he had to do when I used him with Brian [Boyle] on faceoffs. That's why I put them back in."
Taylor Pyatt played with 12 stitches, inside and outside his mouth, and a broken tooth, from when a clearing pass struck him in the first period against the Kings . . . Defenseman Justin Falk, acquired from the Wild in the offseason, again will wait to make his Rangers debut. Swedish rookie wing Jesper Fast, who played against Phoenix, was a healthy scratch for a second straight game. The Rangers and Sharks did not play last season. In 2011-12, the Rangers won, 5-2, in October at the Garden. Ryan Callahan scored twice and Biron made 24 saves . . . The Rangers play the Ducks in Anaheim on Thursday and the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday.