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David Quinn boos followed by Rangers’ ‘total collapse’

Before the Garden crowd took the low road by booing David Quinn when the Rangers flashed a picture of him on the video screen thanking him for his service, the one-time Blueshirts coach weighed in on his former team.

“They’ve got stars everywhere,” he said. “They’ve got stars in net, they’ve got stars on the blue line, they’ve got stars up front …”

Hours later, playing against Quinn’s current team from San Jose that had opened the season 0-5 while outscored by an aggregate 19-8, the Rangers played like a team of stars trying to win with skill rather than will.

They were disconnected and frustrated when early power plays did not connect. They practiced the fine art of poke-checking over and over again. They yielded swatches of open ice in a game where the Sharks were free to roam. Not a single Blueshirts skater was exempt from criticism.

And the Rangers lost, deservedly so, 3-2 in overtime on Erik Karlsson’s shot into an all-but-empty net at 0:49 after a typically dreadful attempt at defending that was a carryover from the third period in which the Blueshirts were outshot 16-2.

The Rangers, who became sloppy and careless in the third period of victories at Minnesota last Thursday and at the Garden over the Ducks on Monday, just did not pay the price against a team surly motivated to get its coach a victory against his former team. The booing of Quinn surely did not help the home side.

Erik Karlsson (No. 65) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game-winning goal in the Rangers' 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks.
Erik Karlsson (No. 65) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game-winning goal in the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks.

“Wasn’t called for,” one player told The Post. “I don’t think he deserved that.”

The Rangers, though, they got more than they deserved by coming away with the losers’ point. True, they had limited the Sharks to nine shots through the first 40 minutes, holding an 18-6 advantage at even strength, but they rarely appeared the superior team and all but never appeared the more committed one.

Stars got in their own eyes.

Former Rangers coach David Quinn watches the action during his Sharks' overtime victory.
Former Rangers coach David Quinn watches the action during his Sharks’ overtime victory.
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“It’s not an offensive free-for-all out there,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “There is a defensive component to this game, too. Maybe we did try to out-talent them too much, that definitely came in at times.

“We didn’t play enough of a straight-line game where we got the puck in deep and established possession. We tried to create too much off the rush.”

These were words and evaluations that were routine throughout stretches of Quinn’s three-year tenure behind the New York bench. All that was missing was a critique of the Rangers’ east-west approach.

It was a blast from the past not worthy of this group, the extreme manifestation of which in the third period all but shocked Gerard Gallant, the current occupant of the head coach’s office.

“I have no idea where that [third period] came from,” he said. “I have no idea what went wrong. It was just a total collapse. It was embarrassing, actually.

“When guys are standing in front of your net banging in four rebounds, you know, Shesty [Igor Shesterkin] had to make four saves in that one spot. I mean, that doesn’t happen with our team, with any team in the NHL.

“It was just — I don’t know. It wasn’t one line or one player, it was a total collapse of the whole team, and that was disappointing,” Gallant said. “But we’ll get by it.”

The Blueshirts held a man-advantage for 3:49 of the first 4:48, 5:49 of the opening 9:49 and 7:49 of the first 21:11. They created a handful of chances but were also forced into repeated turnovers and turn-backs by a Sharks team that has not allowed a power-play goal against on the season across 20 kills.

“The whole first period was a special teams,” Chris Kreider said of the session that featured just 10:48 of five-of-five play. “We had a chance to put our brand on the game and we didn’t.”

James Reimer was good in nets for San Jose, but so was Shesterkin, who is facing more wide-open looks and second chances since the early weeks of last season. The Blueshirts owe it to themselves and to their goaltender to be more aware in their own end. It surely is not pleasant for Shesterkin to stare at a .901 save-percentage that is merely league average.

“We’re not allowing an abundance of shots but we’re giving up really good opportunities,” Trouba said. “We have talked about it but it’s a little disappointing we didn’t really address it.”

The Rangers are 3-1-1 but haven’t played a crisp 60 minutes since the 3-1 opening night victory over Tampa Bay. They’ve won games on talent and on the power play. That’s not going to be good enough over the long haul.

David Quinn could tell you that.

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