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Montgomery gets the blame as Bruins in the 2-1 hole against Panthers
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Montgomery gets the blame as Bruins in the 2-1 hole against Panthers

BOSTON – Coach Jim Montgomery took responsibility for the Boston Bruins falling into a 2-1 series hole against the Florida Panthers after a 6-2 Game 3 loss Friday night at TD Garden.

“Our execution in the last two games just wasn’t good enough and that’s my fault. I have to be better,” Montgomery said.

In particular, the coach accepted blame for the Bruins’ slow start in Game 3, in which they were outscored 13-3 in the first period and 24-8 by the time the Panthers had built a 3-0 lead in the second. It was a start that calmed the raucous Boston crowd.

“We’ve had a few games where we started slow,” Montgomery said. “We didn’t generate much offense. I have to give the players a better game plan. Florida was significantly better than us. I have to come up with a better game plan.”

The Bruins didn’t show any life until the third period, when center Jakub Lauko scored to cut the deficit to 4-1 and break a streak of ten consecutive Panthers goals in the series. Boston got to 4-2, but Florida’s defense and goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky (15 saves) stopped the comeback.

Boston’s late-game rally came after it lost captain Brad Marchand to an upper-body injury. Marchand rode eight shifts in the first period and seven in the second, collecting 10:51 in ice time before leaving for good. He didn’t register a shot on target.

Montgomery said the Bruins will know more about their captain’s status on Saturday. But he said Marchand’s absence may have served as inspiration for his players in the third period.

“I thought we rallied because of our captain,” he said. “I thought our players all took their games to the next level and we started competing like Brad Marchand would have done.”

Defenseman Brandon Carlo said winger David Pastrnak, defenseman Charlie McAvoy and winger Pat Maroon were louder than usual in the third period to make up for Marchand’s absence.

“I think we did a good job generating some things, and that’s a key they brought to the game for us,” he said.

The Panthers took over on the power play. Boston rookie defenseman Mason Lohrei was whistled for a double minor for high sticking at 14:37 of the second period. Vladimir Tarasenko and Carter Verhaeghe scored on their power play to make it 3-0.

Just 3:09 into the third period, defenseman Brandon Montour beat Jeremy Swayman (27 saves) for another power-play goal, making it 4-0. The Panthers went 4-for-6 with the man advantage.

“I think they’ve made adjustments. They have a lot of really good players. But I’m still confident in our penalty kill,” said forward Jake DeBrusk, one of Boston’s penalty killers. “Honestly, we have to stay outside the penalty area, regardless of what we think of the referees or what is going on.”

But DeBrusk didn’t believe the loss in Game 3 fell on his coach, no matter how much blame Montgomery took.

“I think it goes both ways. We’re the ones there. We’re the ones playing the game. He can put together whatever plan he thinks will help us, but we have to execute,” DeBrusk said. “It’s about making the right ones or making the right decisions, and obviously we didn’t do that. You have to play a pretty perfect game against a team like that. And in the last two games you’ve seen what happens when we don’t play.” ‘T.”

Game 4 is Sunday night in Boston.

Montgomery, who said it was back to the drawing board to find a way to put the series together, once again blamed the loss on himself.

“It’s too early to talk about changes,” he said. “We have to do our due diligence and look at the game again and see who’s executing and who’s playing with the effort. But it’s not good enough. We didn’t play well enough. That’s why I take responsibility.”