Two people to blame, one to not blame following Boston's loss to Toronto

There are many things that Bruins' fans can point to and definitively say that it contributed to their loss on Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins
Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Going into Tuesday night's game, you would think that the Boston Bruins would know what was at stake: a win would send them past the first round for the first time since 2021 and a loss would prolong the series another game and send them back to Toronto.

Unfortunately, the team that took the ice at TD Garden on Tuesday night seemed to play like they had no idea they were in the playoffs at all. The Bruins played without any urgency, played flat, and played "good enough" hockey, but not "good" hockey as they fell to the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime.

When all was said and done last night, fans in Boston were left both disheartened and pissed off following the loss. Here's who the fans should look at to blame for the loss, and who they shouldn't.

Blame #1 - Jim Montgomery

It's no secret that the lineup was gelling and had chemistry going into game 5. However, Boston head coach Jim Montgomery decided he wanted to switch things up and change the lineup to give Toronto a new look to contend with. However, as my fellow Causeway Crowd writer, Scott Roche, wrote earlier today, it was his overthinking that was his undoing.

He not only took players out of the lineup who had been productive on the ice, but he also put players in positions that did not put the team in a position to succeed whether it was the short term or the long term.

Unless this was Montgomery's twisted way of showing his hand and telling fans he wanted to clinch the series in enemy territory north of the border, then he probably should not have screwed around with things - especially at home - otherwise fans could very well be calling for his job.

Blame #2 - Everyone on the offense except (maybe) Frederic

As the old hockey cliche goes, you have to start on time if you expect to win a high volume of games at the NHL-level. Guess what happened last night? They didn't start anywhere close to on time.

Maybe part of that is taking John Beecher out of the lineup in favor of Justin Brazeau and switching around where Matt Grzelcyk was in the defensive alignment, but they came out F-L-A-T FLAT! The Bruins were only able to muster 12 shots on goal in the first two periods, while the Maple Leafs got their 12th shot on goal in the game not even four minutes into the middle stanza - a period where the visitors matched their first period total of 11 and increased their cumulative total to 22.

Granted, out of the two shots in the first period, Boston did make one of them count - scoring on a shot from Trent Frederic. The goal was Frederic's third of the playoffs.

The rest of the way it was all Toronto whether it was scoring chances or actual goals in the case of overtime, but now the series hinges on the next one (or two) games.

Don't blame - Jeremy Swayman

Please, whatever you do, do not blame Jeremy Swayman for this loss. Swayman played his butt off in this game and did everything he could to make sure the team won this game. He made 31 saves in a loss - impressive to say the least.

I almost put the officials in this spot to not blame anyone, but the truth is they both played a factor and didn't play a factor at the same time if that makes any sense. Their impact was felt at certain points, but there was no game-changing calls.

Swayman was the no. 3 star, behind Woll and Knies, respectively - for a reason. He stood out on Boston as the one player who was really locked in and ready to go in the game from the get-go.

When/where is game 6?

Game 6 is on Thursday, and will be the only NHL game on the slate that day. It will take place in Toronto at Scotiabank Centre - puck drop on TBS, Max and NESN will be at 8:00 p.m.