The Rangers' Alexis Lafrenière scores on the Bruins' Linus Ullmark during the second...

The Rangers' Alexis Lafrenière scores on the Bruins' Linus Ullmark during the second period of an NHL game Saturday in Boston. Credit: AP/Michael Dwyer

BOSTON — The matchup between the new-look Rangers and the beefed-up Bruins in the first game after the NHL trade deadline Saturday afternoon wasn’t a true test of how the Blueshirts stack up against the NHL’s top team, given that the Rangers again played two skaters short. Forward Tyler Motte and defenseman Ryan Lindgren are out with injuries.

Still, if one wanted to use this game as some sort of measuring stick to show roughly how wide the gap is between the Bruins and the Rangers, the verdict had to be encouraging for the Blueshirts.

Yes, they fell behind by a couple of goals early, and yes, they lost, 4-2, at TD Garden.

But the fact that they hung in there against the Bruins (49-8-5) while shorthanded and playing their third game in three-and-a-half days is something the Rangers (35-19-9) will be able to take with them over the final 19 games.

The Bruins have won 10 in a row.

“I think the other games that we played against them [5-2 loss at Madison Square Garden Nov. 3 and a 3-1 loss at the Garden on Jan. 19], I don’t think we came up this good against them,’’ Mika Zibanejad said. “We kind of pushed them back and didn’t just sit back and watch them play. And I mean, it’s easy to do, especially here — they’re good at home.

“We did a lot of good things, and . . . hopefully that’s something that we can build on and add to. And no matter who we play, play that game.’’

Alexis Lafreniere had both goals for the Rangers, posting the second multi-goal game of his NHL career. The first one pulled the Rangers within 2-1 before the Bruins got late goals from Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak to open a 4-1 lead. Lafreniere’s second goal made it 4-2 with 1:26 left.

“I think we played [well],’’ Lafreniere said. “It was a one-goal game, for the most part, and they scored a couple late . . . And, you know, they’re a really good team, too.’’

The Rangers now have four days before they play Thursday in Montreal. Newcomer Patrick Kane will get a couple of practices with the team, which will help him figure some things out, especially on the power play, which has not been cohesive in Kane’s first two games with the Rangers.

They also will get defenseman K’Andre Miller back, as his three-game suspension for spitting at Kings defenseman Drew Doughty last Sunday will be over.

“I think it’s going to be huge for us . . . to get some practice in, and some reps and get everyone’s chemistry going,’’ defenseman Braden Schneider said of the mini-break.

Without Motte (possible concussion), Lindgren (shoulder injury, four games missed) and Miller, the cap-strapped Rangers were forced to play with 11 forwards and five defensemen for the second time in three games. But they didn’t seem as tired as they looked at points of Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia or Thursday’s home game against Ottawa.

Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead on a goal by Charlie Coyle at 18:07 of the first period and made it 2-0 on a shorthanded goal by Tomas Nosek 30 seconds into the second period. But the Rangers started to pick up their play after that and eventually got on the board on a power-play goal by Lafreniere, who tipped in a shot by Jacob Trouba at 7:03.

The goal wasn’t immediately awarded, as it rang loudly off the goalpost and then appeared to fly across, hit the other goalpost and bounce out. But the referees stopped play to look at the video, which determined the puck had indeed gone in before bouncing out.

The Rangers killed two penalties in the third period to stay in the game before Bergeron got free in the right circle and beat a screened Igor Shesterkin (20 saves) with a one-timer at 12:56 to make it 3-1. Pastrnak caught the Rangers flat-footed during a clumsy line change and connected on a left-circle one-timer for his 44th goal at 16:40.

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