The Boston Bruins didn't go out without a fight, but it ultimately wasn't a massive surprise when Gustav Forsling scored his second goal of the night with 93 seconds left in Game 6 on Friday night to give the Florida Panthers a series-clinching victory over the B's. And with that, Boston's surprisingly crazy playoff run came to an end.

The Bruins dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs early in their first-round series, before falling apart and barely scraping by with an overtime Game 7 victory. They looked great in Game 1 against the Panthers, lost three straight games, but then gave themselves some life with a Game 5 victory. It wasn't enough to carry them to victory in Game 6, though, as Boston simply didn't have enough juice to extend the series against a talented Florida team.

While the B's were outplayed for long stretches of this series, they had their chances to win, and it was agonizing to see them go out the way they did. Ultimately, though, the Bruins can only blame themselves for this playoff loss, even if it came in a year where they managed to drastically exceed expectations along the way.

Bruins had their chances to win this series against the Panthers

Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett (9) and Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) speak after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in game six of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden.
Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into this series, it was clear the Panthers were the more talented team of the two, but anything can happen in playoff hockey. That much was proven true in Game 1, when the Bruins carried over their momentum from their huge Game 7 victory over the Leafs to pick up a resounding 5-1 victory over Florida.

The rest of the series, though, was marred by Boston failing to capitalize on the opportunities that fell their way. Florida dominated in terms of offensive zone time and shots on goal, but the Bruins defense and Jeremy Swayman were doing a great job of making it tough for them to actually put the puck in the back of the net. And realistically speaking, it was the only way the Bruins could win this series.

The B's didn't have the offensive firepower to go goal-for-goal with the Panthers, and they didn't try to play as if they did. Instead, they endured the Panthers suffocating forecheck before picking and chosing their times when to go on the offensive. In terms of creating high-danger scoring chances, this strategy worked.

The problem was that all series long, Boston struggled to cash in on these chances, and it happened yet again in Game 6. Pavel Zacha capitalized on a one-on-one with Sergei Bobrovsky, but that was all the B's offense could do. David Pastrnak couldn't score a one-on-one with Bobrovsky, Charlie McAvoy just missed a wide-open net on a backhand poke from a beautiful pass from Pastrnak, and Justin Brazeau was stonewalled by Bobrovsky on a point-blank rocket from right in front of the net.

Given the final score of 2-1, if just one of these guys score, chances are Game 6 goes a completely different route. Instead, Boston failed to capitalize, and Florida's barrage of shots eventually managed to break down Swayman in net. This wasn't just a one-game problem either; this was precisely what happened in each of the Bruins losses in this series.

It's not a shock that the B's lost this series, and it's tough to be truly upset with them given how this was supposed to be a gap year of sorts for them. They were one of the final eight teams left standing this season, and they managed to make it further than last year's historically good team went. There's a lot of stuff they can build off of moving forward.

As we saw in this series, the key is adding some more top-end scoring. Pastrnak and Brad Marchand are great, but when teams key in on them in the postseason, other guys have to step up. To their credit, the Bruins did that in the postseason, but the lack of scoring depth was tough to miss throughout this series in particular.

The easiest way to do that would be through adding a true number one center over the offseason. Charlie Coyle and Morgan Geekie are solid players, but they aren't really guys you want as your top two centers. Replacing Patrice Bergeron was never going to be easy, but that should become their top goal this offseason.

There have been rumblings surrounding Jim Montgomery's future with the team as their head coach, but there's really no sense firing him. If the B's blew their 3-1 lead against Toronto, then maybe an argument exists, but the team responded with their backs against the wall, and then put up a good fight against a solid Florida team. It would be nice to see more postseason success from him, yes, but he played a big role in helping Boston thoroughly exceed expectations this season.

Again, it's tough to be truly disappointed with this Bruins team, but if they played a bit better over the course of this series, they could have at least had another Game 7 on their schedule for Sunday. Instead, they bowed out against a formidable opponent, and they need to put together a strong offseason of work now in order to ensure that they can properly build off of what they accomplished this year.