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Montgomery sounds off on Bruins 'unacceptable' slow starts


The Boston Bruins have squandered two opportunities to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs from the postseason, and now face a Game 7 to determine their first-round series on Saturday.

The Bruins have been plagued by slow starts in each their last two losses, going well into the second period of Thursday's 2-1 Game 6 loss before recording their first even-strength shot on net. 

“It’s unacceptable, our start again,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “We have to find a way to start on time, and we just have to be better. Toronto, starting on time, they’re getting the advantage, they have the momentum. I thought the last 30 minutes we pushed back really well, but it shouldn’t take that long.”

The Bruins were outshot 12-1 in the first period Thursday, with goaltender Jeremy Swayman weathering the storm to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes. The Maple Leafs outshot the Bruins 11-2 in the opening frame of their 2-1 overtime win in Game 5, with Jake McCabe beating Swayman on a point shot for Toronto's lone goal in regulation. 

Boston eventually came close to evening the shot count in both games, but it's clear that starting on time will be a focus in Game 7 on Saturday.

“We finished well but we’ve got to definitely start that way,” Bruins captain Brad Marchand said. “We’re both fighting for our season next game. That definitely is the recipe for us to have success. We were competing hard, winning battles, supporting each other well, something we didn’t do great in the first half of the game, so we have to bring it in the first half next game.”

The Bruins are headed a Game 7 after owning a 3-1 lead in the first round for the second straight season. Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe completed his team's comeback with the overtime winner in Game 7 last year.

While the Panthers await to the winner of this series in the second round, the Bruins skipped over talking about the similarities to last year after Thursday's loss.

“If someone told us at the start of the season that we’d be [in] Game 7 at home against Toronto, we’d take that all day,” Marchand said. “So it doesn’t matter how you get there. We’re there. Gotta show up.”