Rangers clinch Presidents’ Trophy with 4-0 win over Senators

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

On Monday night, in front of the Madison Square Garden faithful, the New York Rangers earned their fourth Presidents’ Trophy with a 4-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators. The victory gave the Blueshirts a record of 55-23-4 and 114 points, both new franchise records.

On this celebratory night, Artemi Panarin scored his 49th goal and chipped in an assist to reach 120 points. Chris Kreider had two helpers, setting up Jack Roslovic’s game-winner just five minutes into the game. Igor Shesterkin was sharp with 26 saves for his fourth shutout. New York also got goals from Adam Fox and Alexis Lafreniere.

The Senators didn’t get on the scoreboard, but the game could have gotten out of hand if Joonas Korpisalo hadn’t made 30 saves.

As the top seed in the NHL, the Rangers head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 7-3-0 record in their final 10 games, winning the final two contests of the regular season. In a nail-biter race for supremacy, New York fought for the President’s Trophy and the Metropolitan Division title into the final minutes of Game 82.

“It’s fun to compete in practice and it carries over in the game,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “[The Presidents’ Trophy] wasn’t thought about much until the last few games… it’s something to be proud of.

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New York Rangers 4 vs Ottawa Senators 0

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

New York wasted no time jumping out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period when Roslovic tallied his third goal in a Rangers’ jersey thanks to a Kreider saucer pass on a 2-on-1 at 5:55. The sequence was the highlight of a dominant first 10 minutes for the home team, which had seven shots.

Throughout the first 30 minutes, Shesterkin had 13 saves, and the Senators started to buzz after giving up the early goal. Their offensive chances came in spurts, forcing the Rangers’ netminder to work for every save and scramble for any loose pucks in the crease area.

While shorthanded in the second period, Mika Zibanejad caused a turnover at the Rangers blueline and sprung Fox and Krieder on another favorable 2-on-1. At 8:58, Fox tipped home Kreider’s pass past Korpisalo, giving the Rangers a comfortable 2-0 lead.

With Fox’s goal tonight and Braden Schneider’s shorthanded goal on Saturday against the New York Islanders, the pair become the first Rangers defensemen to score shorthanded goals in back-to-back games since 1932-33 when Ivan Johnson and Ott Heller achieved it.

In the third period, at 4:34, Panarin deflected a Ryan Lindgren shot from the point, giving him 49 goals. This historic lamplighter tied Mike Gartner for the fifth most goals in a single season by a Rangers player.

After his goal, Panarin wasn’t done collecting points, setting up Lafreniere’s goal at 13:00 to extend New York’s lead to 4-0. Instead of shooting for 50, he dished the puck off to Erik Gustafsson, who fed it across to a wide-open Lafreniere on the left side of the net. The assist gave the Rangers’ MVP his 34th multi-point game of the season.

Now that the Rangers have earned the Presidents’ Trophy as the top team in the NHL, they will have home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Although their opponent has yet to be determined, the Blueshirts will have plenty of time to prepare for Game 1 as they look to avoid the fate of past Presidents’ Trophy winners.

“At the end of the day, we have to turn the page and get ready for the playoffs,” coach Peter Laviolette noted.

Some of Ryan Gagne's all-time favorite goalies have been Mike Richter, Henrik Lundqvist, and Igor Shesterkin. As a Yankees... More about Ryan Gagne

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