Bruins’ Jim Montgomery says it’s ‘hard to go away from Sway’ for Game 2

Boston Bruins Head Coach Jim Montgomery spoke to the media about who he believes will start for his team in game 2 against the Maple Leafs.

After locking down a Game 1 win, Jim Montgomery plans on riding the hot hand.

The Boston Bruins head coach told reporters after the team’s win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night that it would be “hard to go away from Sway,” when asked about his Game 2 goalie.

“Sway,” of course, refers to Jeremy Swayman, who stopped 35 shots in the win over Toronto — a career post-season best for the 25-year-old netminder.

The Bruins had the luxury of picking and choosing between Swayman and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark all regular season, with the former starting 43 games between the pipes and the latter getting the call for the other 39 regular season contests.

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“He played a terrific game. You win 5-1,” Montgomery said. “But like we said, if we decide to go with Ullmark, we’re comfortable with it, and our team’s comfortable with it.

“It doesn’t affect us in the room, whoever starts next game.”

Swayman finished the season with a 25-10-8 record, a 2.53 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Meanwhile, Ullmark followed up his career-best year with a 22-10-7 record, 2.57 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

Safe to say having to choose between the two is an issue Toronto would gladly take at this time of year. The Maple Leafs’ long-standing goalie dilemma carried over into the playoff opener as Ilya Samsonov allowed goals on the first shots he faced in the first and second periods. He finished with 19 saves on 23 shots.

A season ago, the Bruins suffered a playoff collapse, blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Florida Panthers after setting the NHL record for points in a season. Ullmark had a larger share of the regular-season load for those Bruins.

However, the now 30-year-old’s play dropped off against the Panthers, allowing a 3.33 goals-against average and posting a .896 save percentage. It was eventually revealed that Ullmark was playing through an injury during the series, but not before Montgomery was questioned for letting him start the first six games against Florida while Swayman — a more-than-capable backup — only saw the ice for 3:11 before starting the decisive Game 7.

Montgomery said the Bruins wanted to give Swayman a chance to open a playoff series against Toronto.

“We felt that Swayman hadn’t had the opportunity to start a series before, in the last couple of years,” he said. “We want to see him start a series, see how he’d handle it and he did really well.”

Given the way Boston’s season ended a year ago, how Montgomery handles his two star-level goalies in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs is worth monitoring.

After one game, it appears that Swayman has the inside track to the majority of time in the net if he can continue to perform as he did on Saturday.

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