NEW YORK - The Bruins had not opened the scoring in any of their previous six games of the season, before facing off against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
David Pastrnak slipped his fifth of the season through Henrik Lundqvist just 10 seconds into the game. Later in the first period, Austin Czarnik scored his first NHL goal. Zane McIntyre, making his first career NHL start, shut the door on J.T. Miller twice with terrific saves in his opening 20 minutes.
The Bruins were not about to pat themselves on the backs, though, for any good deeds.
After having a 2-0 lead after the first, the night ended in a 5-2 loss.
"Well, sure, you're happy with the first half, but you're certainly not happy with the outcome," said Head Coach Claude Julien, before the team jetted back to Boston. "We're here to win hockey games, not to pat ourselves on the back when we think we deserve it."
The Black & Gold ran into trouble in the second period, when they found themselves on the penalty kill four times in the second, and six times overall. The Rangers capitalized on two in the second period to turn a 2-0 lead for the Bruins into a 3-2 deficit heading into the third.
"Unfortunately, I would have liked to see us play a whole game like [in the first], and I think the biggest thing, the biggest turnaround, was having to kill that many penalties," said Julien. "You know, it's our second game in two nights and you're utilizing the same guys, and it becomes taxing."
It also pumps momentum into the home team, which didn't let up heading into the third, scoring two quick ones 43 seconds apart in the first 3:06 of the period to go up 5-2.
"We played well right from the get-go and I think the first half of the game was pretty good, but you can't win hockey games with the number of penalties that we were given," said Julien. "And warranted or not, you're not going to win when you're taking five in a row."
"It's tough to win in this league and right now, if we're going to be taking that many penalties, it's going to be hard for us to win. We need every break we can get here with this hockey club. We had to stay out of the box to give ourselves a chance, and we didn't do that."
"You give a skilled team like that so many power plays, they're going to score, so it's not acceptable," said Torey Krug. "We've got to make sure we work through this thing. That's the only way."
The Bruins will have Thursday off following a back-to-back set, before getting back on the ice Friday and then traveling to Detroit. Some players will be out in the community for a special Halloween hospital visit on Thursday, but the entire team will certainly use the time to rest up for a three-game road trip that begins on Saturday in Detroit, before shifting to Florida to face the Panthers and Lightning.
They'll need to turn this around and snap a three-game losing streak that has seen them allow 10 goals in their past two games. The emphasis will be on how they started the game - and carrying that play throughout the full 60 minutes.
"Just focus - and continuing to talk about," said Krug, of how to make that happen. "In between the periods, we say all the right things and we try to make sure we're on top of our game, and then you get out there and one play changes the whole thing and all of a sudden, the team gets kind of down and you've got to make sure that we overcome those things."
"So we're learning," he said. "We've got a lot of young guys in the lineup and new players coming from different teams, and we've got to continue that chemistry and build off it and learn from those mistakes and just keep getting better."