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Rangers Vs. Devils: Say Hello To The Presidents' Trophy Winning New York Rangers

Notes from the Rangers win against the Devils.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

- I think this tweet from friend Evan Sporer sums up my feelings on the Rangers winning the Presidents' Trophy and everyone freaking out about a curse that doesn't exist.

So, yeah. No curse. In a 16-team playoff there is a lot of opportunities for upsets, and a 28.5% success rate -- which is better than 1-in-4 odds -- isn't exactly a bad thing.

- I try to explain this to people all the time, but my hatred within the division really does fluctuate over time. I could care less about the Devils this year, and even when they were throwing around cheap shots like cotton candy at the fair last night I wasn't concerned. My biggest concern was anyone getting injured.

- But boy oh boy did the Devils throw their weight around in the second period. Checks to the head, slashes and ridiculous holds and cheap shots. The Rangers -- smartly -- did nothing about it, since there wasn't much of a point to engage and risk any injury, but don't the Rangers have one specific player who plays just so that he can handle these situations (according to the media, that is)?

- James Sheppard comes in and scores the game winning goal. Will probably play the final two games so Alain Vigneault can rest key players, but he's not going to play in the playoffs. Tanner Glass is going to be an every day player. I really thought the Rangers had a shot to keep Sheppard this summer, but there's just no way he sticks around regardless of what happens this year. He'll go be a good player for someone else for pennies on the dollar. Sad, really.

- But that's about all the complaints I have about last night. Some have already pointed out the 1-for-7 power play, but I'm not concerned at all. To be honest, it looked like the Rangers were far more interested in killing time than they were actually scoring. Although I will say the 5-on-3 was so bad that I probably could have made a difference (or at the very least not make it any worse) which is very, very bad.

- Cam Talbot was a stud when he needed to be. Keep in mind the Rangers out-shot the Devils 33-10 through the first two periods. Read that again: 33-10 through the first 40 minutes. 40-21 for the game. So, yeah, Talbot wasn't called on often, but when he was he needed to make some big saves.

- Talbot also spoke about how special it was for him to be able to get the nod while the Presidents' Trophy was sitting on the line. And as much as I really think he's played his way out of New York (in a good way; the Rangers would be crazy not to trade him this summer) I'm glad Vigneault still gave him a big game with Henrik Lundqvist back. He deserves it.

- The defense played a good game as well. Keith Yandle had an assist (so he doesn't suck today, I guess) and made a few great plays in his own end. Ryan McDonagh (scored the power play goal) and Dan Girardi were good. Actually, everyone was good. No complaints.

- Kevin Hayes anyone? Remember how at the beginning of the year I got yelled at for lobbying him figuring it out with the big club? No one is saying anything about that now. He's not going to reach the 20-20 club, but he had a goal and two assists last night and has 43 points in 73 games as a rookie playing in an off position. Yeah, this kid is special and he's only going to get more special as he continues to grow.

- Mats Zuccarello out with "body soreness" which is interesting but not unexpected. I would have to imagine Rick Nash or anyone else who wants a rest might sit a day, too, the next two games since they mean nothing. Although it should be noted the Rangers will probably have four days of rest between the end of the season and Game 1 of the opening round, so it's not like this crunch of games to end the year is going to hurt them.