NEW YORK - If the Knicks are in need of some rebounding help, perhaps they could ask their Madison Square Garden co-tenants.
Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey converted two rebounds into goals less than 30 seconds apart late in the first period to help put the Rangers ahead of the Bruins 3-1, and the Blue Shirts hung on to capture a 4-2 victory over the B's on Wednesday night.
The Bruins outshot the Rangers 26-17 over the final 40 minutes, but couldn't overcome their slow start - a trend that has exasperated Head Coach Bruce Cassidy.
"The most frustrating thing is the start again," Cassidy told reporters after the game. "We put ourselves in a bad spot and in this league it's tough to come back. We've got to learn quickly to not put ourselves behind the eight ball. Teams are too good."
"It's on every individual," added David Pastrnak, who had a goal and an assist in 22:07 of ice time. "We have to prepare for the game and be ready as a team from the first faceoff. We can't win every game when we let the other team get the first couple goals."
Patrice Bergeron, who notched the Bruins' other goal and was the primary assist on Pastrnak's score, echoed Cassidy's sentiments about the team's sluggish starts.
"It'd be a lot easier on ourselves if we start from the drop of the puck and establish what we've been doing for the last 40 minutes of games," said Bergeron after the game. "We need to be better - everyone knows that - as individuals in the locker room we know we need better results."
Video: The Bruins spoke to media after a 4-2 loss to NYR
Following back-and-forth action through the first half of the opening period, Pavel Buchnevich finally opened the scoring with a nifty top shelf goal past Tuukka Rask. Tim Schaller tried to clear the zone, but Ryan McDonagh kept the puck in and fed it to Buchnevich, who deftly deked around Zdeno Chara before elevating the puck over the glove of Rask on his short side.
It didn't take long for the Bruins to respond, however, as 21 seconds later Anders Bjork made a cross-ice feed to Bergeron, who fanned slightly on a one-time attempt, causing the puck to carom off the end boards and out to Pastrnak, who made a slick toe drag to beat Lundqvist five-hole.
After the B's tied it at one goal apiece, the Rangers took control in the Bruins zone, putting a flurry of shots on Rask. A shot from the point got deflected several times - first by Mika Zibanejad, then by Buchnevich - before Vesey found the rebound and slammed it home for his first goal of the night. Less than 30 seconds later, Vesey found the back of the net again. This time, Kevin Shattenkirk's shot from the point got tipped up and into the side of the net, where Vesey found it and put it in before Rob O'Gara could tie up his stick.
"What bothers me is they were more competitive in front of the net than we were for the first half of the game," said Cassidy. "Then we decide to get competitive there and you see what happens - we get our goals and we keep them out of the front of our net and Tuukka sees pucks, is able to find them and everything is under control.
"That's generally hockey a lot of times - you win the slot battle, the net-front battle - you're going to do pretty well for yourself a lot of nights."
"Yeah, they created some havoc out there and got rewarded with a couple goals," said Rask. "That's the NHL - people crash the net. You've just got to battle and try to make those saves."
Despite their slow start, the Bruins earned several power play opportunities to try to cut into the Rangers lead, but couldn't get one past Lundqvist. Jordan Szwarz had a prime chance at the start of the second period on a one-timer from Torey Krug, but Lundqvist made a quick lateral save with his pads. The Bruins had two more power play chances in the closing period and were able to get some traffic in front of Lundqvist, but the veteran netminder held his ground, leaving the B's man advantage 0-4 on the night.
"It comes back to just playing simple hockey," said Bergeron. "I think we're looking for the perfect play. An effective power play is just about finding a way to score a goal. It doesn't matter how it is. Right now if it's keeping things more simple and going to the front and having bodies there for rebounds, so be it."
"We've got to jump on those loose pucks a little bit more," added Pastrnak. "The second chances and opportunities are there, but we haven't been there on time the last couple games."
Boston now heads to Toronto, where the team will enjoy a scheduled day off Thursday before taking on Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Friday night. Cassidy is hopeful that his young Bruins team will have learned their lessons from Wednesday's loss.
"We want to see the urgency at 7 or 8 [p.m.] when the puck drops - not when we're behind a couple [goals]," said Cassidy.
"That's the message we're trying to get through and hopefully it sinks in Friday because we've got another tough building."