Rangers beat Devils, win NHL's President's Trophy
(AP) - Kevin Hayes and Ryan McDonagh scored 47-seconds apart in the first period and the New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 Tuesday night to win the President's Trophy for the best regular-season record for the third time in franchise history.
The Rangers' fifth straight win improved their record to 52-21-7 for 111 points. The 52-wins ties the franchise record and the point total is one less than that franchise mark, both set in 1993-94, the last time they won the Stanley Cup.
Cam Talbot made 19 saves and James Sheppard and Carl Hagelin added third-period goals as the Rangers swept the four-game season series with New Jersey.
Patrik Elias and Steve Bernier scored and Cory Schneider made 36 saves in the Devils final home game.
The Rangers will now have home-ice advantage throughout the postseason in their bid to return to the Cup finals for the second straight year. They lost the final to the Los Angeles Kings last season.
The Rangers never trailed in this game but it was nothing like Saturday's 6-1 rout of New Jersey at Madison Square Garden.
Despite being outshot by a 40-21 margin and having to kill off seven penalties, the Devils were right in the game until Hagelin scored into an empty net with just under than 2 minutes to play.
Sheppard have given the Rangers a 3-1 lead midway through the third period, deflecting Dominic Moore's shot past Schneider for his seventh goal of the season.
Bernier closed the gap to a goal less than a minute later, with a backhander that Talbot originally stopped. As the puck lay in the crease, the goaltender and Derick Brassard scrambled to clear the puck but Talbot kicked it into his own net.
Talbot was outstanding earlier in the period, stopping Adam Henrique twice and and Scott Gomez in close with a backhander to preserve the Rangers' 2-1 lead.
Hayes gave the Rangers the lead at 13:45 of the first period with his 16th goal of the season. Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas turned the puck over behind his net and Martin St. Louis poked the puck out front to Hayes for a shot past Schneider.
McDonagh doubled the margin less than a minute later with a goal just :07 after Jacob Josefson was sent off for hooking. Derick Brassard won the ensuing faceoff, and Hayes and Keith Yandle moved the puck to the Rangers' captain from the left point that beat a well-screened Schneider.
The Devils, who had only two shots in the opening 17 minutes, got on the board with their third. With Tanner Glass of the Rangers in the penalty box, Bernier found Elias alone between the circles for his 12th goal of the season.
The Rangers had a two-man advantage for 1:27 in the opening minutes but only managed one shot on goal. It foreshadowed a night in which they converted on 1 of 7 extra-man chances.