Since watching his team blow a 3-1 series lead and get bounced by the Florida Panthers in the opening round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery has repeatedly described that series as a learning experience’
Appearing on the ‘Raw Knuckles Podcast’ hosted by former Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, and longtime Montreal Canadiens enforce Chris Nilan and former NHLer Tim Stapleton, Montgomery admitted that he didn’t read the vibe of his team well as things started to fall apart for him and the Bruins players in the series. After further review, he can tell that the Boston Bruins weren’t anywhere close to pushing the tempo as they did when they broke the NHL regular season records for wins (65) and points with 135.
“I’ve watched the games back. We didn’t play as fast as we did in the regular season,” Montgomery pointed out. “Those are things that are going to eat at me until we start playing again next year. We simply didn’t do what we did. And there’s no hiding from that. We’re not going to hide from that.
You look at that those things and look at body language, looking at guy’s eyes, wanting the moment versus not wanting the moment. I’ve done some reading on some body language stuff that might help me as a coach, you know, moving forward, but in the end, we know we didn’t get the job done. And that stays with us. It’s gonna stay with me forever. I think we had the team to win at all. And, for me, I’ve always felt I’ve been able to talk about that last third of the year. Get my team to play its best at the most important time. And I failed the process.”
Jim Montgomery reiterated that he still doesn’t regret putting Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron back into the lineup for Game 5 against the Panthers. He’s more worried about the fact that even when their leader came back in and lit the lamp in Game 5, the Bruins roster didn’t react and channel that momentum.
“I also don’t second-guess myself putting Bergeron in Game 5,” the Bruins bench boss said. “People were like, ‘Why don’t you just save him for the second round?’ Could you imagine what people would be saying if they knew I didn’t play Bergeron and he was healthy Game 5 and we lost? I mean, he scored.
Unfortunately, it lingers with us what happened. We own it. We know we lost to a good team in Florida – they’re in the finals – but we still were up 3-1. You find a way to close that out. That’s the competitor in us, it’s hard to let go. But we have to move forward. Like what do we learn from this? Especially with our young core players that are gonna be here a long time. How do we all grow from this and make sure that, whatever happens in the regular season, that the next time we get to the playoffs, that we own the moment?”