Local boy Jimmy Vesey makes good against the Bruins
As the legendary Bob Lobel would say after watching Jimmy Vesey score a pair of goals against the Bruins, “Why can’t we get players like that?” Although in Vesey’s case, the B's actually wanted him pretty badly and he was the one that ultimately chose the Rangers over the Bruins when he had finally graduated from Harvard. Vesey kicked in a pair of goals in the opening period by crashing the front of the net and simply winning battles for loose pucks, and it helped the Rangers build a commanding 3-1 lead. Vesey finished with the two goals – that doubled his season output to four goals on the year – two shots on net and two hits in 14:28 after doing most of his hard work early.
He certainly wasn’t all bad when he was on the ice, but it’s a reflection of the way he played that Robbie O’Gara only ended up with 10:35 of ice time. O’Gara flat-out lost a battle with Jimmy Vesey at the side of the net during a first-period scramble, and that turned into Vesey snapping home a loose puck inside the post to make it a 3-1 game. O’Gara snapped his stick in frustration immediately afterward, and was clearly upset knowing that he should have made the play. In all, the rookie D-man finished a minus-1 with no shots on net and a couple of blocked shots, and he was okay the rest of the time. But O’Gara needs to be a stalwart warrior in the D-zone if he wants to stick around in the NHL.
The Bruins started off with some decent shifts at the drop of the puck, but once again they couldn’t sustain their energy and intensity in the first period on the road. They ended up getting outshot 16-7 by the Rangers and were thoroughly dominated en route to falling behind 3-1 after the first 20 minutes. Once again the Bruins fought back and made it interesting in the third period, but they finished with zero points and nothing to show for when they couldn’t come all the way back from the two-goal deficit they’d created in the first period. The Bruins are struggling on the road this season because their starts are pretty poor most of the time, and that’s just the simple truth.
Patrice Bergeron played his butt off and tried to lead the way for the Bruins, and even scored a goal in the third period to try and help bring the Bruins back in a last-minute rush. The Bruins fell short, of course, but Bergeron was strong throughout with a goal and two points, a plus-2 rating, six shot attempts, a hit, a takeaway, a blocked shot and 13-of-19 face-off wins. He was the clear best player on the ice for the Bruins, and showed plenty of leadership on the ice upping his physicality and impact level midway through the game when it was clear he didn’t like the way things were going for Boston. While the Bruins dropped the game amid a tough stretch and things may not get better vs. Toronto in back-to-back games this weekend, the good news is that Bergeron looks strong, healthy and ready to continue playing at an extraordinarily high level.
BY THE NUMBERS
1-3-1 – the Bruins’ dismal road record through five games is beginning to be a pattern that needs to improve for the young hockey team.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“It was very exciting and something I’d been looking forward to. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but it’s still nice to have the support [from friends and family].” -- Charlie McAvoy, on his first NHL game played at Madison Square Garden in front of a large contingent of friends and family against the Rangers team he rooted for growing up.