Jim Montgomery explains benching Matt Poitras in third period of Bruins’ win

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BOSTON — Matt Poitras was a healthy scratch Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres so he could “build some strength and rest in his program.” On Saturday, the Bruins rookie didn’t see a shift in the third period of Boston’s 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Poitras’ minutes in the final 20 minutes of the game have been limited of late. But they were nonexistent Saturday despite Pavel Zacha leaving the game with an upper-body injury to start the second period. Even down a forward, coach Jim Montgomery decided to bench the 19-year-old rookie because of his game management.

“It’s still lacking in his game right now,” Montgomery said after the win. “We’re paid to win hockey games and I’m gonna go with the guys that I think are gonna win us hockey games.”



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When asked by NESN’s Andy Brickley about shortening his bench and if Montgomery had a message to the players who don’t see much time because of that, the coach said “the message will come on Monday when we get back to work.”

The Bruins are off Sunday and return to practice Monday morning.

In 25 games this season, Poitras has five goals and seven assists. He picked up his seventh helper of the season Saturday on Danton Heinen’s goal in the second period. He’s shown flashes of his strengths, but there is little room for error when the Bruins are trying to win games.

The Bruins return to action Wednesday so have a few days to right some wrongs from Saturday. And for Poitras to continue to work on his game before Boston travels to New Jersey to take on the Devils.

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