Boston Bruins bench boss Jim Montgomery isn’t talking like a coach whose team currently owns the best record in the NHL.
While the Bruins improved to 24-4-2 Saturday with a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice, Montgomery felt like there was a lot to be desired from Boston’s performance.
In fact, the first-year coach has a list of areas that he believes the Bruins need to improve in going forward.
“I don’t think we’re playing very good hockey. We’re not,” Montgomery told reporters, per team-provided video. “I don’t think we’re checking well enough. I don’t think we’re playing fast enough — with or without the puck. It’s leading to us spending more time in our own end. It’s been leading to us getting on the wrong side of pucks, so we’re taking a lot of stick infractions, especially in the offensive zone where our forwards have been very good all year at being over the top of people. We’re not there right now and that’s leading to us leaking oil a little bit in how we want to play.”
The Bruins haven’t kept up the winning pace recently that they set earlier in the season when they won 20 of their first 23 games. It was an incredibly tall task for Boston to keep that going as the Bruins are just 4-3 over their last seven games. Two of those losses though came in a shootout while the other came in the final seconds of regulation and with some controversy.
Regardless, the Bruins haven’t looked their sharpest as of late, especially when they gave up a two-goal lead in the third period Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings.
Montgomery tried to get on his team after the first intermission against the Blue Jackets, and when he still wasn’t satisfied with how the Bruins played in the second period, he had Patrice Bergeron deliver a message to his teammates before the final frame. It ended up working out with Boston scoring twice in the third period to pull away from Columbus.
Montgomery has certainly set a high standard for the Bruins and it’s a good sign he’s trying to make Boston play to that level every time out on the ice.