The Bruins won Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series with the Panthers despite not acclimating well to postseason intensity, which suggested Boston would run roughshod over Florida once it got up to speed.
Well, it didn’t play out that way for the Presidents’ Trophy winners.
The B’s jumped out to a 3-1 series lead over the Panthers but then were largely outmatched by Paul Maurice’s club over the course of their final three games. This was definitely true in Game 7 on Sunday night when Florida rose to the occasion in enemy territory while Boston succumbed to the pressure of living up to the highest of expectations.
Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery seemingly was pleased with his team’s complete level across the series’ final three games, which made the trio of consecutive losses all the more difficult to explain.
“I do think our first two games we played, we weren’t ready for the intensity of Stanley Cup playoffs, and I think that goes with the regular season,” Montgomery told reporters, per ESPN. “But by Games 5, 6 and 7, we had dug in. That’s where it’s a little stupefying.”
Other words Montgomery used to describe the Bruins’ early postseason exit were “disappointment” and “confusion.” Boston’s head coach also shouldered some blame for the Black and Gold’s offensive shortcomings in the biggest moments of the series.
Montgomery and his players now will have to live with those regrets after coming up well short of their ultimate goal.