Bruins Notes: Jim Montgomery Explains His Overtime Philosophy

The Boston Bruins have plenty of overtime experience this season.

The Bruins went to overtime for the second time in a row on Thursday, and the fifth time in the last six games, but unlike in Edmonton, they lost 3-2 to the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Boston has gone to OT 20 times this season, with an 8-12 record. The fourth quarter can be difficult as play shifts to 3-on-3, but Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery believes his squad can improve in that area when the stakes are higher.

“We’ve had our struggles 3-on-3, and tonight didn’t go our way,” Montgomery told NESN’s Andy Brickley during postgame commentary. “We talk a lot about our angling and angling above pucks and making sure we never fall below it.”
The Bruins had several chances to cap a come-from-behind victory over the Flames, particularly when David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy found themselves on a 2-on-1 right before Nazem Kadri’s game-winning goal.

But Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom turned away Pastrnak’s shot, and with Pastrnak and McAvoy trapped behind the goal line, the Flames went on a 3-on-1 the other way, with Kadri finishing it off.

The Bruins, who got off to a slow start, nevertheless gained a point from the loss, which moved Boston slightly ahead of the New York Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference, but Montgomery wasn’t totally satisfied.

“We got better throughout the game,” Montgomery remarked. “We got a point, like to finish that off in overtime.”
Charlie Coyle saw the overtime result differently, especially given that the Bruins have yet to drop a regulation away game since the calendar turned to the new year.

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“I think that’s a decent part of our game where you go on the road, it’s not always easy, especially if you’re playing a back-to-back or not, it’s always going to be a tough one in someone else’s building,” Coyle told reporters, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “But just to play the right way, give a gutsy effort and play well for the most part. There’s going to be lapses as we talked about. But to grind it out if you have to, whatever the game calls for and get these points.

“All these points add up. And we want to make sure we kind of rack up as many as we can, and sometimes you got to grind your way to do that. It kind of stings when you don’t get the full two, but you can’t really fault our effort too much.”
— Coyle paced the offensive effort with two goals, including the game-tying tally 2:33 into the third period. Coyle now has 20 goals on the season, just the second time in his career he reached that mark. He’s now just one goal shy of tying his career high, which came during the 2015-16 season with the Minnesota Wild.

— The Bruins were without two of their top four defensemen since Hampus Lindholm didn’t travel on the road trip and Matt Grzlecyk sat out against the Flames due to a lower-body injury he suffered in the win over the Oilers.

That put Kevin Shattenkirk back into the lineup while Mason Lohrei, who logged the second most ice time among Bruins defensemen behind McAvoy, and Parker Wotherspoon assumed bigger roles.

“To make the game simple for themselves, move the puck to the first outlet and just be ready to compete,” Montgomery said of his message to the defensemen with Lindholm and Grzlecyk out. “I think Lohrei and Wotherspoon are doing a great job of that.”

— Linus Ullmark made 54 saves in his previous appearance at Scotiabank Saddledome. Ullmark didn’t have nearly the same workload Thursday, but he made a few outstanding glove saves in the loss. Ullmark completed with 26 stops.

– Anthony Richard has quickly established himself with the Bruins. He assisted on Coyle’s third-period goal and now has three points in his past four games.

“I always thought my offensive game would bring me to the NHL,” Richard told reporters during NESN’s postgame coverage. “… Just keep working on your defensive game, and you’ve always had an offensive touch since you were young.”

— The Bruins resume their journey across western Canada on Saturday, when they face the Vancouver Canucks. The puck drop at Rogers Arena is slated for 7 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, plus an hour of pregame programming.

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