Bruins’ Jim Montgomery has one reason to make this switch for Game 3 in Toronto

It wasn't Linus Ullmark's fault the Bruins lost Game 2 against the Maple Leafs Monday night, but there is one reason why Jim Montgomery needs to go with Jeremy Swayman in Game 3 and until he loses a game in this series.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game One
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game One / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages

Before the series started, it an almost given that Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery was going to rotate his goalies at some point. It didn’t take the second-year coach long to do it, choosing to start Linus Ullmark in Game 2 after Jeremy Swayman’s 35-save performance in Game 1, a 5-1, Bruins victory.

Ullmark made 30 saves, some big ones, and spectacular ones, but it was not enough as Maple Leafs’ goalie Ilya Samsonov turned back 19 shots over the final two periods after giving a David Pastrnak goal with eight seconds left in the first period to help his team rally from a 2-1 deficit after 20 minutes.

Let’s be honest and straightforward, you can’t blame the loss on Ullmark as he was good and deserved the win. In reality, he kept his team in the game and gave them a chance at the end, but Samsonov played better.

Who gets Game 3 in the net Wednesday night at Toronto? It’s likely to be Swayman and truth be told, it should be his net until he loses for one reason and one reason only.

Jeremy Swayman is undefeated against Toronto in 2023-24

Towards the end of Game 1, the Maple Leafs looked defeated. They fired 36 shots at Swayman and only one found the back of the net by David Kampf early in the third period. Before that and after that goal, everything was stopped. Do we say that Swayman is in Toronto’s heads?

In three regular-season meetings, he was 3-0 vs. the Maple Leafs with a .959 SV%. He was very good as he was Saturday night when he led the Bruins to a 1-0 series lead. Now that scene shifts to Toronto even at 1-1, momentum is on the Maple Leafs’ side with a chance to take command of the series with a pair of home wins.

Montgomery has only one way to turn between the pipes and that’s with Swayman in Game 3 to see if he can get the home-ice advantage back for Boston. It feels like Game 2 was a huge swing and a miss for the Bruins to take a 2-0 series lead with William Nylander out of the lineup again. 

Last season Montgomery decided too late to go to Swayman against the Florida Panthers in the first round and he wasn’t going to do it again this season. Now that he has played both netminders in Games 1 and 2, he needs to go back to Swayman and ride him until he loses or gets hurt as he seems to have Toronto’s number and could very well be in their head. It’s a rather easy decision if he wants a chance to get out of the first round this spring. No need to overthink it.