Bruins’ Goalie Rotation Blasted By NHL Legend

Goalie Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins

Getty Goalie Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins


he Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs drew each other in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 17th time in their intertwined histories.

That tradition hasn’t changed, but there might be a Bruins classic about to change… if Boston’s head coach Jim Montgomery decides so.

Truth be told, he sounded all but convinced about how he will handle the Bruins net for Game 2 following the Bruins 5-1 win over the Leafs on Saturday, April 20. A change (or the lack of it, actually) might be coming on Monday.

“[Jeremy] Swayman hadn’t had the opportunity to start a series before in the last couple years,” Montgomery told reporters after the game on April 20. “We wanted to see him start a series. Did really well.”

Swayman started on the net for the Bruins and he was one of the main reasons Boston defeated Toronto 5-1 in Game 1 of their first-round series. He stopped 35 shots and he only allowed one goal when the score was already 4-0 in favor of the Bruins and with the contest already into the third period.

Former NHL Players’ Takes on Boston’s Goalie Rotation

If there is a reason for changing goalies between Game 1 and Game 2, that’s definitely not going to do with Swayman’s performance on Saturday.

One of the potential things that could lead Montgomery to make a change on net is conditioning and resting his goalies, as Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic pointed out in a column written after the game.

“The decision the Bruins have to make is whether one full rest day is enough to optimize Swayman for Game 2,” Shinzawa wrote. “Part of what made the rotation successful is how it relieved Swayman and Ullmark of the physical and mental stress of making consecutive starts.”

Former NHL players Paul Bissonnette and Henrik Lundqvist shared their opinions about Swayman’s performance and what Boston should do next when talking at different points in the TNT broadcast of the game.

“At this point, the only way the Leafs come back in this one is if someone kidnaps Sayman,” Bissonette said. “With that one-two punch (Ullmark and Swayman).”

“I’m not the coach,” former NHL netminder Lundqvist started. “Of course, they can change. I just… I would not do it.

“These guys are very well trained. Of course, they can play more than two games, or even ‘play one game, sit one game.’ It doesn’t come down to being fresh (now), maybe down the stretch. But for these first couple games? No.”

Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman Have Rotated All Season

The Bruins have been using their two goalies, Swayman and Linus Ullmark, on a full rotation for the last two months when the former started back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers on February 19 and February 21, according to data tracked by Hockey Goalies.

Montgomery, however, wouldn’t commit to either of the two men to get the start in Game 2 on Monday, leaving the door open for both to get the call and leaving the Leafs guessing about who they might face come puck-drop time.

“It’s going to be hard to go away from Sway,” Montgomery said in his postgame press conference. “He played a terrific game. We win 5–1.

“But if we decide to go with Ullmark, we’re comfortable with it and our team’s comfortable with it.”

The decision to start Swayman instead of Ullmark on Saturday probably came down to his track record against the Maple Leafs this season. Swayman was 3-0 in regular-season contests and after Game 1 he’s still a perfect 4-0 against the Leafs.

Swayman has a ridiculous .962 save percentage when he faces Toronto and has only allowed 1.25 goals-against average against his first-round opponent this year throughout four contests on net for the Bruins.

“Dream come true,” Swayman said about taking the net for a Game 1 after only making an appearance in Game 7 of last year’s first-round elimination. “It’s such a privilege to play in this league and for this city. Taking that first lap, hearing the fans, seeing the towels, it’s a pretty emotional feeling.

“Pretty spectacular.”

Swayman finished the regular season with a 25-10-8 record, a .916 save percentage, and a 2.53 goals-against average. Ullmark’s record for the 2024 season ended at 22-10-7 with a .915 SV% and a 2.58 GAA.

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