Bruins’ Montgomery calls out Pastrnak: ‘Pasta needs to step up’

Kevin Bieksa joins Evanka Osmak and Ken Reid after the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins to force a deciding Game 7 and discuss a variety of topics including whether the Bruins are missing the leadership of Patrice Bergeron.

TORONTO — An uninspired Game 5 effort put the pressure squarely on the Boston Bruins in their first-round NHL playoff series against Toronto.

A Game 6 dud only made things worse. 

The Maple Leafs topped the Bruins 2-1 on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena to force a seventh game on Saturday night at TD Garden. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery wants to see more from his team in the decider and called out forward David Pastrnak by name.

“Your best players need to be your best players this time of year,” Montgomery said. “I think the effort is tremendous and they need to come through with some big-time plays in big-time moments.

“I think (captain Brad) Marchand has done that in the series. Pasta needs to step up.”

Marchand was in top form early in the series — posting eight points over four games — but has been held off the scoresheet since. Fellow forwards Jake DeBrusk (five points) and Pastrnak (four points) also started strong but have since been hushed.

“I maybe didn’t get enough shots,” Pastrnak said. “I should maybe have a little bit more of a shooting mentality. Usually that always helps me.”

Pastrnak had 110 points (47 goals, 63 assists) in the regular season.

“He needs to be the dominant player that we’re used to,” Montgomery said. “He’s doing it in flurries. He’s not doing it as consistently as he did in the regular season. His linemates need to help him too.”

Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman did his part once again, holding Toronto to two goals or fewer for the fifth time in this series. 

The Bruins were held to just a single shot in the first period Thursday and had difficulty sustaining pressure in the Toronto zone all game. 

The tight-checking Maple Leafs prevented Boston’s forwards from finding any rhythm down low. Toronto was also more disciplined with just one minor penalty call in the game.

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Boston pressed midway through the third period, but the Maple Leafs stayed the course. Toronto outhit Boston 72-57 and blocked nearly twice as many shots (27-14).

William Nylander scored both Toronto goals. Morgan Geekie tallied for the Bruins with less than a second left in regulation to end Joseph Woll’s shutout bid.

Toronto’s second straight 2-1 victory — the Game 5 win came in overtime — left the Bruins searching for answers ahead of their first must-win game of the series.

“They’re obviously very desperate, fighting for their lives,” Marchand said. “So that’s always the toughest game to get. We know that. But I thought tonight was better than last game.”

The Bruins will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last spring. Boston had a 3-1 series lead on Florida before dropping three straight games. 

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

The well-rested Panthers, who beat Toronto in the second round last year, await the winner. Florida dispatched the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday in a series that lasted five games. 

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