The Bruins have their warts, to make certain. But in addition they possess the league’s finest concealers in Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. If both a kind of goalies would have been common to begin the season, then it’s a great wager that the B’s 12-1-2 report would look significantly totally different.
They’ve been so good that coach Jim Montgomery plans to proceed the goalie rotation for the foreseeable future. And, sure, if the Bruins are lucky sufficient to make the playoffs – one thing that, due to the goalies, already looks as if a definite chance – Montgomery can see that rotation persevering with into the post-season.
“For sure. Absolutely,” mentioned Montgomery after observe after Friday’s observe at Warrior Ice Arena.
That could also be simple to say in November, however it might be much more troublesome when a workforce is within the warmth of a playoff battle in April. Going with a strict rotation within the playoffs could be a bit unorthodox. There are all types of eventualities that will check it. What occurs if a goalie wins Game 1 and you’ve got probability to lock down a sequence with a win in Game 2? Do you turn goalies? Or in the event you lose Game 1, change goalies and win Game 2, do you return with the Game 1 loser for Game 3? It may pose some robust calls.
But if the rotation continues all through the season and stays the primary supply of success as it’s now, it could not appear to make any sense to dump the entire load on one goalie’s shoulders as soon as the post-season begins. They name the playoffs the second season for a motive. If you go so far as you need, it’s two months of each different night time work.
Still, it may take some organizational self-discipline to keep it up – inside motive — very like we’ve seen analytics-driven baseball mangers holding their pitchers to a strict pitch depend, traditionalists be damned.
“I think it’s a comfort zone. As long as our lines of communication (are open),” mentioned Montgomery. “When (goalie coach Bob Essensa) and I met with the goalies this year, (we told them) they’re a luxury that allows us to be an elite team. It’s why we, in my opinion, had such a great regular season (last year) and it’s surely why we’re having a great regular season this year. And we just tell them up front that we’re going to be alternating. You guys are both integral parts of why our team can be really good and it’s bearing out that way. And the fact that they support each other so well, it’s really the best outward example of why our culture is so good.”
Going with a strict goalie rotation may additionally relieve some stress from a coach, primarily taking any intestine resolution out of his arms. Last season, Ullmark gained the Vezina Trophy and Montgomery understandably selected to journey him for a lot of the sequence in opposition to Florida, although Ullmark had been battling a nagging harm. By the time he determined to make the swap for Game 7, Swayman had been sitting for a few weeks and the Panthers stole the sequence on Garden ice.
We shall see what occurs when April rolls round. For now, the rotation is right here to remain. And Montgomery thinks it makes plenty of sense in in the present day’s sport.
“If you have the goalies to do it, you’re going to. But I do think that when you get into the league as a goalie, it takes awhile before you’re ready to play 60 games,” mentioned Montgomery. “So you build up towards that and then I think you can do that once you get established in the league. But the wear and tear on goalies is more significant now with the condensed schedule and how good everybody is. You’ve got to have a good goalie every night. That’s why the balance I think makes it so important.”
It’s actually working for the Bruins proper now.
“A culture of what matters for the team the most matters,” mentioned Montgomery. “If you’re going to have a (Henrik) Lundqvist or Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur or (Dominik) Hasek, if you have one of them, you’re going to play them 62 games. But those guys don’t come around very often. I just look at ourselves and we have two outstanding goalies and it just seems like the rotation works really well for us – and for them, individually.”
While Ullmark had the new begin final season — and he’s nonetheless been fairly darn good — Swayman is the one who has actually been on hearth to begin this season with a .944 save proportion and 1.69 objectives in opposition to common. He’s one board with the rotation.
“I think it’s really a unique situation and we’re so fortunate to have two goalies who can guarantee the team a chance to win every night,” mentioned Swayman, whose flip is up for Saturday’s sport in opposition to Montreal. “It’s a great recipe that’s been working for us, so I think it’s something we’ll continue to do.”
Asked if he may envision it persevering with within the playoffs, Swayman didn’t chunk.
“Well, we can’t think about the playoffs till we get there,” he mentioned with a giant smile….
Matt Grzelcyk returned to the workforce observe on Friday, albeit in a purple non-contact jersey. He’s anticipated to get again within the lineup subsequent Saturday when the B’s play in New York in opposition to the Rangers when he’s eligible to be activated from LTIR. He’d been placing collectively a great season when he suffered an higher physique harm in opposition to Florida on October 30.
“Grizzy puts out a lot of fires,” mentioned Montgomery. “He understands how we want to play so well and his brain is so high-end that he kills a lot of plays defensively. And offensively, I find that this year he’s been more aggressive offensively than he’s ever been, as far as being shot ready and joining the rush in all three zones.”