While Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery doesn’t think goaltending is the reason his team was headed back to Florida Thursday afternoon, the 2023 Jack Adams Award favorite wouldn’t rule out a switch in goal for the Bruins against the Florida Panthers in Game 6 on Friday night.
Less than 24 hours after Ullmark’s epic gaffe led to the Matthew Tkachuk overtime winner 6:05 into the extra frame, Montgomery met with the media at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA. Montgomery was asked point-blank if he’s considering switching to Jeremy Swayman between the pipes.
“We’re going to evaluate everything again; I have complete confidence in Ullmark, and if we decide to go with ‘Sway’, I have complete confidence in him,” the Bruins bench boss said before the Boston Bruins traveling contingent boarded their flight to Florida on Thursday afternoon. “The luxury we have, is that we have players at every single position and get the job done.”
Two questions later, Montgomery was asked if Ullmark has given him all he’s wanted in this first round playoff series?
Montgomery just gave a quick and blunt response.
“Yeah. I think goaltending’s been an edge for us,” he said.
Linus Ullmark became the first Boston Bruins goalie to win 40 games in a regular season since Pete Peters did so in the 1982-83 regular season going 40-6-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .938 save percentage. In the process, he became the odds-on NHL betting favorite to win the 2023 Vezina Trophy. Montgomery and Ullmark’s teammates aren’t about to give up on him now and know, despite his brain cramp in overtime, that he is not why the Panthers forced a Game 6 in this Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.
“He’s been a rock for us all year,” Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said of Ullmark after the 4-3 overtime loss in Game 5 Wednesday night at TD Garden.
“He’s given us a chance to win every time he’s stepped out there. He can’t be too hard on himself. We’re a team, it’s about what we do together on the ice as a unit of six and go from there. To me, I feel you win and you lose as a team. It is what it is. He’s a tremendous goalie, he’s probably the best goalie in the NHL and probably going to win the Vezina this year. We’re all there for each other and we’ve always said that, so chins up for him.”
Still, whether it’s playoff gamesmanship or not, Montgomery left the door open for a potential series-shifting move, and potentially losing some trust between him and Ullmark.