Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery understands that it’s “a formality” at this point that his team will skate away with the Presidents’ Trophy.
But the bench boss would still prefer the Bruins to clinch that honor on their own terms instead of backing into it.
The Bruins lost a chance at doing so Tuesday night at TD Garden against the Nashville Predators when they turned in a dud of a performance in a 2-1 loss. With another shot at obtaining the Presidents’ Trophy against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, Montgomery hopes the matchup can bring a playoff-like feel to it.
“It’s an opportunity tomorrow for us kind of like to simulate a playoff game in the fact that you can close out a series, we can close out the Presidents’ Trophy,” Montgomery told reporters following practice Wednesday, per team-provided video. “We’d liked to do it on our own. Not wait for it to happen.”
It might be tough for the Bruins to replicate a postseason environment with the Blues coming in owning the worst record at 23-43-7 in the NHL.
But that won’t stop the Bruins from trying to get back on track as they look to keep their approach the same even though their playoff position is firmly secured.
“I think we’re just going to continue to do what we’ve done most of the year,” Montgomery said. “We stay in a process that we believe in. Like today, we come in and we analyze why we didn’t perform to our normal standard and we discuss it. And we talk about how we’re going to be better against Columbus. That’s how we’ve approached the whole season.”
The Bruins and Blue Jackets will drop the puck from TD Garden at 7 p.m. ET. You can watch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.