TORONTO -- It was the sinking feeling of déjà vu, of haven’t-we-been-here-before, of a story told and retold and told over again. It was uncomfortable and familiar, all at once.

The Boston Bruins are now 0-for-5 in five chances to close out a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs dating to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round last season against the Florida Panthers, those lost Games 6 and 7, the lost series.

It is all happening again, like the quicksand has taken hold of the Bruins and won’t let go.

This time, the Bruins lost 2-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the first round Thursday, and suddenly their 3-1 advantage in this best-of-7 series has been wiped away. It is 3-3, with Game 7 at Boston on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC) and the Panthers looming for the winner.

“It’s an opportunity,” Bruins captain Brad Marchand said. “We’ve got to be grateful for it. These are 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.”

The words, too, felt familiar. Because they were. It was a year ago that coach Jim Montgomery, too, was calling Game 7 an “opportunity.”

It was one they didn’t cash in then. It’s one they have to hope they do now.

That starts with the start, and with the offense, which has vaporized over the past two games. It has been slow starts and few shots and not nearly enough from their biggest offensive threats.

Especially David Pastrnak.

“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. Marchand has done that in this series. ‘Pasta’ needs to step up.”

After a 110-point season (47 goals, 63 assists), Pastrnak has four points (two goals, two assists) in six games, none of which have come in the past two. He has four shots on goal in each of the past three games and has been outscored by Marchand, Jake DeBrusk and Trent Frederic, each of whom has three goals in this series.

“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. We’re not as good of an offensive team right now as we were in the regular season -- neither is Toronto.

“We’ve got to find a way. We’ve got to push through. We’ve got to dig in. We’ve got to win more battles that leads to more odd-man rushes or leads to more opportunities at the net front. There were rebounds laying there. We didn’t get to them. We’ve got to get to them.”

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It’s not just Pastrnak, but it starts with him.

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

Does that need to change in Game 7?

“Yeah, I’m going to shoot the puck,” he said.

They have scored only one goal in each of these past two, something that will not win a lot of hockey games, even when a goalie is playing as well as Jeremy Swayman is. He has allowed four goals on 59 shots combined in the two games, and has not allowed more than two goals in any of his five starts in this series.

But even with that behind them, the Bruins haven’t done enough offensively, haven’t spent enough time in the offensive zone, haven’t sustained their possessions.

“It’s definitely not a good enough job of the forward group, including myself obviously, starting with me scoring goals,” Pastrnak said. “We’ve got one goal in two games, so we need to be much better and create more offense.”

And that has been the case right from puck drop, with Toronto having a 11-2 advantage in shots on goal in the first period in Game 5 and a 12-1 advantage in shots on goal in the first period in Game 6. The Bruins didn’t look as disjointed to start Thursday as they had Tuesday, but that was little consolation.

“It’s unacceptable, our start again,” Montgomery said. “We’ve got to find a way to start on time and we’ve just got to be better. Toronto, starting on time. They’re getting the advantage. They have the momentum.”

The Bruins, once again, were able to turn it on in the final half of the game, just as they had Tuesday. But, as Montgomery admitted, “It shouldn’t take that long.”

“They’ve started well every game,” Marchand said. “They are prepared to play first shift and we need to be better in that area. I think we had maybe one game where we started as good or better than them. So, last couple games they’ve started really hard and kind of carried that momentum through the first period. We have to do a much better job there.”

They’ll get a chance to do that Saturday, an “opportunity.” Toward that end, the Bruins are saying all the right things, focusing on the here and now, not letting the past haunt them, forgetting their demons -- not that they have any.

It’s time to prove it.

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

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