Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (left) replaces goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With two goaltenders at the absolute top of their game in Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, Jim Montgomery and the Bruins have a ‘problem’ just about every other team in the league would kill to have.

The runaway Vezina Trophy favorite, Ullmark is sitting atop the NHL in wins (35), save percentage (.937), and goals against average (1.95). If that holds between now and the end of the regular season, Ullmark will become the league’s first ‘Triple Crown’ winner in net since Carey Price in 2015.

Swayman, meanwhile, has captured wins in 19 of 29 decisions this season, while his .921 save percentage and 2.19 goals against average ranks as the fourth and third-best in hockey, respectively.

It’s all been enough to spark a legitimate conversation in regards to what the Bruins will do in goal once the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin just under a month from now.

On Thursday, Montgomery provided a slight glimpse into those plans.

  • “I think we’ll start with one of them, most likely Linus is going to start the first game,” Montgomery revealed ahead of the team’s victory over the Canadiens. “And then we’ll see how it goes game-to-game from there. I’m not going to commit to anything beyond Game 1.”

    Ullmark (most likely) getting Game 1 isn’t anything even close to a surprise.

    As mentioned, he’s been on top of his game from the moment the puck dropped on the 2022-23 season, and has given the Bruins absolutely zero reason to turn away from him. He’s also been absolutely phenomenal on home ice this year, with 19 wins and a .941 save percentage in 21 decisions at TD Garden.

  • Feb 28, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the overtime period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 28, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the overtime period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Ullmark, of course, got the nod as the Game 1 starter last year by then-coach Bruce Cassidy. The Bruins made a switch to Swayman in Game 3 and with the team down 0-2 in the series, and it was Swayman who started the final five games of that first-round loss to the Hurricanes.

    But both Ullmark and Swayman have been better than they were a year ago — Boston’s .941 save percentage at five-on-five is tied with the Bruins’ tandem of 2010-11 as the best team five-on-five save percentage since 2009-10 — and the rotation has worked.

    So could the back-and-forth rotation the Bruins have committed themselves to for nearly 20 games extend beyond the regular season and into the playoffs?

  • Feb 16, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) makes a save during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 16, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) makes a save during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

  • “We would have no issues with [rotating both goaltenders in a playoff series], but I don’t know if we’re going to do that,” Montgomery admitted.

    Montgomery’s reluctance to commit to that is natural. It’s tough think of a team that’s purposefully gone with a goaltending rotation en route to a Stanley Cup. The closest we’ve come to that is when the Penguins had Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray during their Cup runs in 2016 and 2017, but in both instances, switches were made due to injury or struggling play more than anything by design.

    That said, if there was a year to do it, it’s this year, with both Ullmark and Swayman surging, and the Bruins finding a perfect balance with their ice time both in goal and beyond.

    But there’s still plenty of time to see how that all shakes out, and Montgomery knows it.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.