New York Rangers, A Number One

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In the words sung by the legendary Frank Sinatra, the New York Rangers ended the 2023-24 regular season as “top of the list, king of the hill, a number one.”

Yes, the Rangers set out on a mission Monday night to leave no doubt which team was the absolute best for 82 games. By soundly beating the Ottawa Senators 4-0, the team set franchise records for single season wins (55) and points (114).

“It’s obviously an accomplishment,” explained captain Jacob Trouba. “Whenever you’re playing for something, for a trophy, it’s never something you take lightly. I think it’s good for us to have that mentality of the extra sense of urgency going into the playoffs. Now it’s a quick turn of the page and get ready for the real stuff.”

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New York Rangers win Presidents’ Trophy

NHL: Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the season, many people would’ve been hard pressed to put the Rangers as a contender for the Presidents’ Trophy. Let’s be honest, a disappointing first-round ouster to the upstart New Jersey Devils, who didn’t even qualify for the playoffs this season, was enough to keep them out of the conversation.

They also had a new head coach in Peter Laviolette, and no cap space to keep even one superstar trade deadline rental in either Patrick Kane or Vladimir Tarasenko. However, this was also a team that went to the Eastern Conference Final two seasons ago, falling in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Laviolette understood what this group could be.

“I believe you have to play good defense and you see that in teams that win the Stanley Cup.” Laviolette said at his introductory presser back in June.

“For me it’s also about – you prepare yourself to play playoff hockey. When you watch the playoff games, it’s a reminder that the compete inside the game is what makes teams great. You have to practice that on a daily basis. It has to start in training camp and become part of your DNA.”

Since day one, Laviolette instilled that in his players. Along the way, he brought a group that was close even closer together. It’s now culminated in the finest regular season in franchise history, as they’ve earned their fourth Presidents’ Trophy. Only the Detroit Red Wings have won more with six.

An absolutely incredible regular season.

That being said, everyone knows what really matters, and that’s the Stanley Cup. It’s something this bench boss won way back in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes and would like to do it again.

“It was a good regular season,” Laviolette explained. “You’ve got to do well in order to get a chance to play for the Cup… At the end of the day, we’ve got to wake up tomorrow and turn the page to start getting ready for why we did all this work, and that’s the playoffs.”

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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