Game 7 is a must-win if Jim Montgomery wants to stay with the Bruins

Game 7 could be the final one in Boston for Jim Montgomery if the Bruins complete a second straight 3-1 playoff collapse.
Apr 27, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery watches the play
Apr 27, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery watches the play / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go, yet again. After taking a 3-1 series in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive year, the Boston Bruins have dropped Games 5 and 6 to the Toronto Maple Leafs and now face a must-win Game 7 Saturday night at the TD Garden.

Last season, Boston grabbed a 3-1 series lead against the Florida Panthers only to lose the final three games and suffer a historic collapse in the playoffs. Now, just 12 months later, here they are again, one loss away from repeating last season’s postseason failure. Not ideal.

Now faced with another win-or-go-home Game 7, there are a lot of jobs that could potentially be on the line for the 2024-25 season and no one may need a win more than someone behind Boton's bench.

Jim Montgomery has his job is on the line in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs

When the Bruins made the stunning decision to fire Bruce Cassidy following the 2021-22 season, Bruins GM Don Sweeney hired Jim Montgomery. What he has done with the Black and Gold the last two regular seasons has been nothing short of tremendous. He has led them to 112 wins, but he is on pace for a second consecutive blown 3-1 series lead.

Over the last two postseasons, Montgomery has mixed and matched his lineups, but he failed to stick with what has been successful. That was never more evident than in Game 5 Tuesday night when he took John Beecher out of the lineup, as well as defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Both moves were questionable, but again, after two very good wins on the road to take command of the series, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. There was no need to tinker with the lineup.

What was even more head-scratching was the decision to put Matt Grzelcyk into the lineup after scratching him earlier in the series. Last season Montgomery sent the message against Florida that Grzelcyk was not good enough to play in some of the games in that series, what makes you think he’s good enough to play this season?

Under Montgomery, the Bruins have played in five close-out games between the 2023 and 2024 playoffs and have lost all five. Yes, you can put a lot of the blame on the players, but sooner or later, that has to catch up with more than the players, and a sixth consecutive loss would be damaging to the franchise.

In this day and age, it is surprising sometimes when a coach survives postseason failures and when they don’t. If Boston loses Game 7 and a sixth straight close-out game in two seasons while holding a 3-1 postseason lead under Montgomery, Saturday night could very well be his last game behind the Bruins bench inside the TD Garden.