The Bruins will stick with goaltender Jeremy Swayman in net for a must-win Game 6 Thursday night at TD Garden, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed Wednesday.
The start will mark the fourth straight start for the 23-year-old Swayman. This will mark the first time in Swayman’s NHL career where he’s gotten the nod in four straight contests, but the Bruins aren’t sensing any fatigue with their prized rookie. Even if Monday’s Game 5 didn’t come with a strong start for Swayman.
“I don’t think he looked his best [Monday],” Cassidy admitted. “What it comes down, to me, is a little bit of what’s happening is like I’ll go to Game 3; Big big saves early on on [Tony] DeAngelo and that breakaway on [Jordan] Martinook. It gives us a little bit of, ‘Hey, let’s find our game.’ Even though they scored first, I thought those were important, timely saves.
“Last night, we didn’t get it. That first goal — we’re on them with another good start [and] we need that save early on. It’s just one you need [to] keep you in it. Didn’t happen, gives them a little bit of life in their building. I thought we pushed early well to get the lead, didn’t happen, and they got timely saves. We didn’t. And then they got some life from there.”
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The Bruins didn’t provide Swayman with a goal of support until the midway point of the third period, so it’s not as if Swayman was the difference between a win and loss for the Bruins, and Cassidy was quick to note that the team’s Game 5 loss was about more than the goaltender.
But the Bruins are clearly hoping that Swayman’s return to home ice, where he stopped all but four of 53 shots faced (a .925 save percentage) on the way to a series-tying two-game run in Boston, will do the trick for Swayman and the Bruins.
“Those are areas of the game that we got at home that we’re gonna need tomorrow,” Cassidy said of the proverbial ‘timely saves’ from Swayman. “We need that timely save early on.”
Game 6 is set for a puck drop a little after 7 p.m.