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Bruins’ Jim Montgomery says it’s ‘tough to move on from Sway’ before Game 2 – Sportsnet.ca

After coming off a win in Game 1, Jim Montgomery plans to ride 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 “tough to move on from Sway” when asked about his Game 2 goaltender.

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

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

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“He played a great game. You win 5-1,” Montgomery said. “But like we said, if we decide to go with Ullmark, we feel comfortable with that, and so does our team.

“It doesn’t affect us in the room, whoever starts the 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 continued his career-best year with a 22-10-7 record, 2.57 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

It’s safe to say that the choice between the two is an issue that Toronto would like to take to heart this time of year. The Maple Leafs’ long-standing goaltending dilemma continued in 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 was disappointing against the Panthers, allowing a 3.33 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage. It was eventually revealed that Ullmark played through injury during the series, but not before Montgomery was questioned for making him start the first six games against Florida while Swayman – a more than capable backup – only saw the ice for 3:11 . before the decisive Game 7 begins.

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

“We felt like Swayman hadn’t had the opportunity to start a series in recent years,” he said. “We want to see him start a series, see how he would handle it and he did very well.”

Considering the way Boston’s season ended a year ago, how Montgomery handles his top two goaltenders in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs is worth keeping an eye on.

After one game, it looks like Swayman will have the majority of the time in net if he can continue to perform like he did on Saturday.