Already having clinched the best record in the National Hockey League, the New York Rangers nonetheless closed out their best season ever with a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
With records in wins (53) and points (113), the Presidents’ Trophy winners eclipsed even their vaunted 1994 championship season.
The Rangers made it to last year’s Stanley Cup, but lost to the Los Angeles Kings in 5 games. This year’s Kings missed the playoffs, becoming only the fifth depending champion in NHL history not to advance to the postseason the following year. The Kings’ biggest problem: lack of defense.
Meanwhile, the Rangers suffered a big scare en route to their record-setting season, when their star goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, when down with a neck injury in early February and missed 25 games. But Lundqvist’s backup, Cam Talbot far surpassed just about everyone’s expectations, masterfully tending goal in Lundqvist’s absence. And now, Lundqvist is back and ready for the playoffs.
The playoff picture, as of this writing, was not 100% solidified – but one thing is clear: with the best record in hockey, the Rangers have home ice advantage throughout.