"I don't know what the retribution would be," he said when the question came up after San Jose's 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders. "We had a real good night. Anything we did went our way and basically anything they did didn't go their way.
"There was no intent to run up the score. I think our big guys played 12 minutes that night."
Actually, the most anyone played that night on the line of Hertl, Joe Thornton or Brent Burns was Hertl at 11:12.
Hertl was criticized by a few people elsewhere in the NHL and accused of showboating on a fourth goal that included a drop pass to himself between his own legs and the celebration that followed. But if the Rangers took issue with Hertl's style, they kept it to themselves.
McLellan and his players, of course, are not expecting history to repeat itself when the Sharks try to complete their road trip a perfect three-for-three.
"It'll be a hard game. It's always been a tough building to play in," McLellan said of Madison Square Garden, which has had an interior makeover since San Jose's last visit, a 5-2 loss on Oct. 31, 2011.
San Jose is on a five-game winning streak that has them tied with Anaheim at the top of the Pacific Division, though the Sharks have played one more game. The Rangers are 2-3 over their past five games.
McLellan said he hoped to have Raffi Torres back in the lineup today after missing three games with general soreness, some of it related to the knee injury that caused him to miss the first 59 games of the season.
The Sharks were playing well with Torres on a third line with James Sheppard and Tommy Wingels, but the line has continued to have success with Marty Havlat slotted in Torres' spot in their last three wins even though the finesse-oriented Havlat and hard-hitting Torres have vastly different styles of play.
"They're both different players, but they're both great players," Sheppard said. "They know where to be on the ice and I think their spatial awareness is great out there. They're always on the right spot and that makes it a lot easier for Tommy and I."
McLellan said he liked the flexibility both Torres and Havlat, who has two goals and an assist in the last three games, provide on his third line.
"Ingredients — that's a word we've used over the last little bit," he said. "We can be a more rugged team with Raffi, a little more finesse team with other people in the lineup. We have options as long as we're healthy. That's perhaps a real good thing heading into the second season."