The Devils had vowed to fight to the end, but didn’t put up much of a fight at all Sunday afternoon with their season on the line against their biggest rivals.

The Devils’ last meaningful game of the 2012-13 season culminated in frustration, with coach Pete DeBoer being ejected and fans chanting "Season’s over," driving home the reality that they were mathematically eliminated from the postseason race with 4-1 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"Yeah, frustration," DeBoer said. "Not the way you want to go out, but that’s how it ends for us."

Four days short of 11 months after knocking off the Blueshirts in the Eastern Conference finals and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils had to accept that they will not be participating in the postseason tournament for the second time in three seasons. That’s after 13 consecutive seasons of making the playoffs.

In a game the Devils needed to win to stay alive for another two days, goaltender Martin Brodeur said they gave into their frustration by taking penalties and mouthing off to the officials.

"You could just feel it when things didn’t go our way this game, we quit," Brodeur said. "We took a lot of penalties, a lot of conversation toward the referees and a lot of things that usually we don’t let these things affect us and they did affect us today."

DeBoer clearly was frustrated with the officiating from the start, shaking his head in disbelief when Ryan Carter received four minutes for roughing for his part in a scrum with the Rangers’ Darroll Powe 3:44 into the game. Powe received only two minutes, resulting in the Rangers receiving the first power play of the game.

With 5:18 left in the first period, the Devils received a bench minor for an abuse of officials, giving the Blueshirts a brief 5-on-3 power play — after Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto tripped Ilya Kovalchuk, preventing a possible short-handed breakaway and no penalty was called. Patrik Elias received another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty 3:42 into the third period and the Rangers scored on the resulting power play to make it 4-0.