Skip to content

Bruins' Montgomery: Pastrnak 'needs to step up'

Claus Andersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery posed a challenge to star forward David Pastrnak after Boston's 2-1 Game 6 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

"Your best players need to be your best players this time of year," he said postgame. "I think the effort is tremendous, but they need to come through with big-time plays in big-time moments. (Brad Marchand) has done that in the series. Pasta needs to step up."

"He needs to be a dominant player like he used to," the bench boss added, per RDS' Patrick Friolet. "He's doing it in flurries, but not as consistently."

Pastrnak enjoyed an electric regular season, posting 47 goals and 110 points in 82 games. He may earn some down-ballot votes for the Hart Trophy after being named the runner-up for the hardware last campaign.

The sniper hasn't been as strong this spring, registering two goals and four points through six games. He was held off the scoresheet during Boston's back-to-back defeats in Games 5 and 6, though he led the team with eight shots over that span.

The Bruins have been outscored 4-2 with Pastrnak on the ice at five-on-five in the series while dictating just 44.9% of the shots, 46% of the expected goals, and 45.4% of the scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Marchand also hasn't recorded a point in the past two games, but he's racked up three tallies and five helpers and potted the winning goals in Games 3 and 4.

The Bruins held a commanding 3-1 series lead over their Atlantic Division rivals, but Toronto has stormed back to force Game 7, which is scheduled for Saturday in Boston.

Montgomery said he was "pissed off" by his team's 2-1 overtime loss in Game 5, and he was similarly frustrated by Thursday's showing.

"It's unacceptable, our start again," he said. "We've gotta find a way to start on time, and we've just got to be better."

The Bruins have lost their last two opening-round Game 7s, falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2022 before being upset by the Florida Panthers last year.

Marchand is feeling ready to buck that recent trend.

"We're here. It's an opportunity. We gotta be grateful for it," he said, per The Fourth Period's Shawn Hutcheon. "These are the moments you dream about as a kid. Game 7. That's where heroes are built and made. I think we have to be excited about the position we're in and make the most of it."

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox