Weighing the pros and cons of riding the Bruins' hot hand in net

Going into the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins had to decide which way they would go in regards to their goaltending situation: so far they have played the rotation game. Will it continue into game 4?
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Following a game 3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs thanks to the play of some special players Going into game 4 in Toronto, Boston Bruins' head coach Jim Montomgery will be at the crossroads of his early coaching career. At the crossroads he will have two options.

Option A: go back to his decision of last year and NOT play the goalie rotation of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark and ride the hotter goalie until he needs a break.

Option B: play the rotation game, and stick to what has worked all season.

Chances are Montgomery will ride the hot hand and continue with Swayman going into game 4, but here are the pros and cons to doing so.

Riding the hot hand - the pros

The goaltending situation on any team is a delicate one, but with the Bruins it is especially delicate considering that you have two netminders who could just as easily be no. 1 goalies on any other team in the league.

The first pro to riding the hot hand, however, is that the hot hand stays... Well... Hot. In the playoffs, most teams want to keep their goalie who is playing well on THE ice as opposed to ON ice. They want to make sure they are as sharp as nails, and on Wednesday night Swayman did NOT look rusty at all.

The second advantage to Boston riding the hot hand is it gives them added momentum. Yes, there is already some momentum on the offensive side of the puck last night. but a lot of that comes when the goalie is playing well too and vice-versa.

Riding the hot hand - the cons

The first disadvantage to playing the hot hand is that playing the same team team so much is that the Maple Leafs will eventually figure out where Swayman's weakspots are with minimal time for the Bruins to watch video and learn how to improve on those areas.

With the limited time between games Toronto will have time to look at the video and come at Boston with what it has learned and come up with a solution fast.

The second disadvantage of playing the hot goalie is the injury factor. This is exactly what happened with Ullmark last year. He played all six games of the opening round until he couldn't take it and finally let Swayman play in game 7 - the one that ended the season.

This is where playing the rotation may be beneficial to the team, but in the Bruins' case it should be an organized rotation where they play one until they NEED the other, not just when they feel it's APPROPRIATE to play the other. They have a goalie 1, and a goalie 1A for a reason.

When is the next game/how can I watch it?

Game 4 is on Saturday, April 27, in Toronto - puck drop from Scotiabank Centre is at 8:00 p.m. on TBS, TruTV, Max and NESN.