LATEST UPDATE : Boston Bruins Facing Heavy-Duty Pressure Heading Into Game 7 . Jim Montgomery revealed

The Boston Bruins simply did not show up to play in Games 5 and 6 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, leaving them in an eerily similar scenario to last season.

How else can you explain the three shots on goal in the first periods of both games combined? Sure, by the latter parts of those back-to-back 2-1 losses, Boston had gotten considerably more involved. However, those bursts of energy proved insufficient, and the first-round best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is currently deadlocked at three games each.

Oh wow, how exciting will this impending Game 7 situation be for Bruins fans? Their cherished team, as every NHL fan knows, took a 3-1 lead in the first round last year before dropping the following three games and the series to the Florida Panthers in a historic collapse.

The oft-heard phrase of “we’ll get it done next year” after being eliminated in 2022-23 was absolutely appropriate for this season, despite the retirement of stalwarts Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. And indeed, with newly appointed captain Brad Marchand leading the club emotionally, the Bruins rose to the task and ended a tremendously successful regular season in which they just lost out on winning. The Atlantic Division. Aside from the fact that the Bruins were never going to match 2022-23’s best regular-season record in NHL history (65-12-5), the biggest difference this season was that the Bruins (47-20-15, 109 points) would occasionally look supremely flat for stretches of a few games in a row. And, sure enough, that remains a problem. After appearing fantastic versus Toronto in the first four games, the lazy play set in.


Something also must be said about the extraordinary teamwork being put in by the Maple Leafs, who haven’t beaten the Bruins in a playoff series since 1959. When the series started, Toronto was out to hit any chance it got. Now, no matter from what position — whether it’s guys like defensemen Timothy Liljegren and Morgan Rielly or forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi — the Maple Leafs are all playing highly disciplined and energetic team defense and are not giving an inch. They’ve been hungrier than the Bruins in puck battles and have been clogging the Bruins’ passing lanes. Rarely was Boston able to string a series of passes together, whether they were trying to break out or skate it into the offensive zone. What’s more, whenever the Bruins made a successful series of passes heading across the Toronto blue line, there were blue shirts quickly in their face to cause a disruption. The Maple Leafs’ defensive job was especially effective on Bruins’ big scorers David Pastrnak and Marchand.

As a matter of fact, head coach Jim Montgomery said, “Pasta needs to step up,” in his Game 6 postgame comments.

Dump Puck, Lose Puck, and See Toronto Break out, rinse, and repeat.
The following scenario occurred frequently over the last two games: Boston becomes caught in its own zone, allowing the Maple Leafs extended possession. The Bruins eventually figure it out, but have no meaningful attack alternatives, so they dump and chase. But the chase is too sluggish, and Toronto moves rapidly.

And, certainly, for lengthy parts of both games, Toronto was the faster, more effective offensive team. Boston’s defense stood strong, for sure, with more fine work delivered in by goalkeeper Jeremy Swayman and defenseman Brandon Carlo, among others.

When the Bruins’ firepower created scoring opportunities, Toronto goalkeeper Joseph Woll (49 saves in two games) was there to perform his newfound magic.

Something Montgomery stated in a piece suggests that Boston may have a better mindset heading into Saturday’s Game 7. When asked if the Bruins were thinking about the fiasco against Florida, he was clear: “We’re not living in the past. We aren’t living in the future. We are living in the moment. We’re not thrilled with our current game. We need to prepare for Game 7, which starts on Friday.”

Living in the moment does not imply that there is no pressure. When Montgomery, Marchand, and the rest of the Bruins on the ice Saturday, The heavy-duty pressure will be adjusted all the way up.

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