Boston Bruins fans should be happy with potential Game 6 lineup vs. Maple Leafs

It appears that Bruins coach Jim Montgomery is shifting back close to his Game 4 lineup.
Mar 30, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Bruins center John Beecher (19) has
Mar 30, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Bruins center John Beecher (19) has / Hannah Foslien-USA TODAY Sports

For some reason with his team holding a commanding 3-1 series lead on the Toronto Maple Leafs heading into a potential close-out Game 5 at the TD Garden Tuesday night, Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery decided to make some lineup changes. He took out one of his best centers at the face-off dot, John Beecher, and inserted Justin Brazeau, while he took out Kevin Shattenkirk on defense in place of Matt Grzelcyk.

Playing without regular season 69-goal scorer Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs forced a Game 6 with a 2-1 overtime win on a Matthew Knies goal. Following the game, in which the Bruins looked the worst they had in the whole series, and Wednesday, Montgomery was not happy with the effort and result. In reality, yes you could blame the players on the ice, but you can’t think that with the struggles they had on face-offs that the lineup changes played a big part in it too.

Jim Montgomery sounds like he’s returning close to the Game 4 lineup

Wednesday Montgomery was asked whether Beecher and Shattenkirk would be back in the lineup for Game 6 and he noted that both players have made a big impact after sitting a game and being added back into the lineup.

At the Thursday morning skate, it appears that it is trending that both Beecher and Shattenkirk will return to the lineup, although nothing is official, except for Danton Heinen being ruled out by Montgomery and is day-to-day. For Toronto, Matthews will not play either.

If that does happen, that should be music to Bruins’ fan's ears. Honestly, I will never understand the decision to pull at least Beecher from the lineup and even Shattenkirk. Boston went to Toronto after dropping Game 2 to even the series and put together two strong performances to take a 3-1 series lead. It’s almost like Boston went into the game knowing that they have three chances to close out the Maple Leafs, but if they learned anything last season against the Florida Panthers, it’s that nothing is guaranteed that they will close out the series.

Now the Bruins have given the Maple Leafs life, closing them out is going to get more and more difficult. It’s hard to envision Toronto losing three home games in the series, but heck, the Bruins did that last year against the Panthers. Unless Boston can flip the script and the lineup changes work, we could be looking at a Game 7 Saturday night at the TD Garden. If that happens, then all the pressure would be on Boston to avoid a second straight collapse in the postseason with a 3-1 first-round series lead.