Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery cannot change the past, but he knows and is willing to learn from it.
Speaking on his weekly segment on the new ‘Toucher and Hardy’ morning show on the Bruins’ flagship station, 98.5 The Sports Hub, on Thursday morning, Montgomery admitted that he made a mistake in the seven-game first round series loss in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Instead of going with the Linus Ullmark-Jeremy Swayman goalie rotation that helped lead the Boston Bruins to a record-breaking regular season and the 2022-23 President’s Trophy, Montgomery decided to ride Ullmark.
The move backfired on him as the eventual Vezina Trophy winner went 3-3 with a 3.33 GAA and .896 save percentage. Montgomery finally switched over to Swaymann for Game 7, but it was too late as the Bruins blew a 3-1 series lead and saw Patrice Bergeron’s last chance at a Stanley Cup go up in smoke.
“Yes, I mean, there’s no reason. And I think, you know, you’ve got to learn from the past, too,” Montgomery told 98.5 The Sports Hub. “Last year, I made a mistake by not doing that in the playoffs. And I think that we, as an organization, evaluate everything.”
From this morning show: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery reveal the team’s goaltending strategy for the playoffs pic.twitter.com/MTuOahikxQ
— Toucher & Hardy (@toucherandhardy) January 4, 2024
As Montgomery pointed out, the physical and mental rigors of the game ramp up in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it just makes more sense to use the two goalies, who, this season, are the main reason the Boston Bruins entered their tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at TD Garden with the most points in the NHL.
“When you have two goaltenders and the demands of the playoffs are much more strenuous mentally than they are physically because you’re only playing every second day,” Montgomery said. “It’s not like the regular season. However, the mental demands are significant. If you know you can have a day off to get a breather, reset, refocus, and bring your A-game again, I think it just behooves us to play to our strengths.”