Jim Montgomery makes gutsy decision to help the Bruins win Game 1 over the Panthers

Jim Montgomery's third period decision helped his team regroup for a huge Game 1 win over the Panthers Monday night.
Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers - Game One
Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers - Game One / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

In their first-round playoff series win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery got some criticism for some of his decisions. After grabbing a 3-1 series lead, the Black and Gold allowed their Atlantic Division rivals back in the series and needed a David Pastrnak overtime goal in Game 7 to advance

Last season against the Florida Panthers in the opening round, Montgomery made some questionable decisions pregame and in-game during Boston’s historic collapse from holding a 3-1 series advantage to lose in seven games. Monday night, the Bruins began a second-round series with the Panthers, a team that entered Game 1 with a week off, and it’s safe to say that an in-game decision by Boston’s second-year coach was his best one over the last two springs.

Jim Montgomery’s third-period decision keys Bruins’ Game 1 victory

After falling behind 1-0 in the second period on a Matthew Tkachuk goal, the Bruins responded with three goals in the final 6:47 of the period by Morgan Geekie, Mason Lohrei, and Brandon Carlo to take a 3-1 after 40 minutes. In the third period, Florida came out with pressure and overwhelmed Boston, to say the least.

Florida, aided by a power play early in the period, began the final 20 minutes outshooting the Bruins, 11-1, with the only Black and Gold shot coming on a Pastrnak breakaway. Sensing his team was in trouble right before the under-14 media timeout in the period, Montgomery used his timeout to settle down his team. Even captain Brad Marchand had some things to say.

It turned out to be a move that likely saved the game as shortly after, Justin Brazeau scored his first career playoff goal on a breakaway for a commanding 4-1 lead before Jake DeBrusk sealed the 5-1 win with an empty-net goal.

Momentum was clearly on Florida’s side and it felt like if they found a way to beat Jeremy Swayman they were going to take advantage of Boston playing less than 48 hours after Game 7 against the Maple Leafs. Instead, Montgomery took advantage of a stop in play, and rather than waiting until the media timeout, he used his and his team responded in the best way possible to close out Game 1.