Boston Coach Jim Montgomery, center top, calls to his players during the second period of Game 2 against Toronto on Monday in Boston. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

BOSTON — During the last few weeks of the regular season for the Boston Bruins, one of Coach Jim Montgomery’s frequent concerns about his team was its inability to match its opponent’s urgency.

At that point, the Bruins were assured of a playoff spot and were playing teams battling to earn one. Those teams had innate reasons for superior motivation.

But after his team fell 3-2 to the Maple Leafs in Game 2 of the playoffs, he saw the concern pop up again.

“I didn’t think urgency was where it needed to be to prevail tonight,” he said after Monday night’s game. “I just didn’t think we won enough wall battles to be able to get on our end successfully. … I just don’t think our players were in sync and what they were trying to do so that’s why it looks a little discombobulated.”

The series is now tied, 1-1. Game 3 is Wednesday in Toronto.

In Game 2, the Bruins led 1-0 and 2-1 and both times gave up leads. They were outshot 33-29.


“I think it’s a function of their defending well. It’s also a function of we’re not playing fast enough,” Montgomery said. “We’re slow in transition, which is not allowing us to possess parks and it’s not allowing us to get in on the forecheck.”

As Boston now goes on the road, Montgomery challenged his team to take another step.

“It’s a series. They’re a good hockey team. We’re a good hockey team. It’s the playoffs,” he said. “They improved from Game 1 to Game 2. We didn’t improve enough. We need to get better for Game 3.”

David Pastrnak, who had his first goal of the series, said there’s a lot of room to do that.

“I don’t think we played nowhere near as good as we can,” he said. “We have some work to do. We’ll get some sleep tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”

THE BRUINS WILL have to make a lineup change on defense with Andrew Peeke not traveling to Toronto after he suffered an injury late in the second period Monday.


They have a few options.

Journeyman defenseman Parker Wotherspoon has exceeded expectations for the Bruins so far this year. Used largely in a third-pair role with a focus on defense and shutting down opponents, he’s the safest option available. He doesn’t move the puck as well as Peeke, but he’d be a strong defensive option who can also kill penalties.

He had eight assists in 41 games and was a plus-6.

Derek Forbort had surgery at the trade deadline, and General Manager Don Sweeney said he expected the necessary recovery to end the veteran defenseman’s season and placed him on long-term injured reserve. But Forbort began skating before practice earlier this month and went on a conditioning loan to Providence last weekend. He played two games in the AHL before being called back up to Boston on Monday.

After Tuesday’s optional skate, Montgomery said Forbort will travel with the team to Toronto, but won’t be available for Game 3. The veteran defenseman hasn’t been ruled out for Game 4.

Rookie Mason Lohrei has the highest ceiling of Montgomery’s options and he practice with the team on Tuesday. But at 23, he’s been the most mistake-prone. He’d be a more logical option if the injury had been to Kevin Shattenkirk or Matt Grzelcyk as his puck-moving skills could help replace theirs. His growing pains in the Bruins end against the Leafs offense would be a concern.


GOALIE LINUS ULLMARK didn’t earn the win, but his performance did little to cast doubt on Montgomery’s decision to start him.

Ullmak made 30 saves including several terrific ones and didn’t give up a bad goal.

After Jeremy Swayman’s 35 stops in Boston’s Game 1 win, Montgomery offered few definitive answers to any of the many inquiries about whether he’d maintain the season-long goalie rotation or stick with Swayman. Toronto got several good chances early and Ullmark rewarded his coach’s faith with some big stops.

After the game, Montgomery said the offense not Ullmark was the reason the Bruins came up short.

“No second guesses. He was terrific,” Montgomery said. “He made multiple big-time saves. It’s a strength of our team. Both of them played really well and we only scored two goals.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.