BRIGHTON, MA – While Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery wasn’t tipping his cap in his media session after Sunday’s morning skate ahead of Game 7 against the Florida Panthers, Jeremy Swayman will likely take over for Linus Ullmark as the starting goalie tonight at TD Garden (6:30 p.m. ET, NESN, TNT).
“No, I’m not going to tell you that,” Montgomery replied when asked who his starting goalie will be when the Bruins try avoid a total collapse in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the Panthers who forced a Game 7 after being down 3-1 in the series.
“What about other lineup changes?” a reporter asked the Boston Bruins bench boss.
“There might be,” he replied.
However, while Montgomery was playing coy with his lineup again, Jeremy Swayman was the first goalie off the ice – which usually means he’s the starter. Ullmark, as most backups do, stayed behind on the ice for a good 20 minutes out taking shots from the healthy scratches and team staff. Halfway through the player media availability in the team dressing room, a sweaty and clearly frustrated Ullmark came in, went straight to his stall and took his equipment off as reporters interviewed his teammates.
Unless he, Swayman, and Montgomery were trying to completely trick the media and in effect, the Florida Panthers, Ullmark will not be the starting goaltender for the Boston Bruins in the do-or-die Game 7 tonight.
Also, it should be noted that defenseman Jakub Zboril and forwards A.J. Greer and Jakub Lauko also stayed on the ice with Ullmark and came in right before him.
During that Montgomery presser, the Boston Bruins head coach acknowledged how hard it is for a head coach to tell a goalie or any player that he’s not playing in a Game 7.
“I trust in ‘Goalie Bob’ and his feel for the goalies,” Montgomery said when asked about how he delivers the tough news. “And it’s the same thing, not only for goalies – if we make a change at any position, it’s really hard because we have a group that’s given everything to the team all year, and everybody wants to play in a Game 7.”
Montgomery then went back to his childhood days dreaming of playing in a Game 7.
When you’re kid growing up and you love hockey, whether you’re playing knee hockey with your brother or your friend, or you’re playing knee hockey with your pee-wee team staying at a tournament and playing in the hallways of a hotel, it’s always Game 7. It’s never the first game. I told the team, when I played, I had a neighbor and he wasn’t very good, but I let him win three games so we could get to a Game 7! I mean, that’s what you love about it. The opportunity. I talked about it, in your career as a player, if you play ten years, you might get two Game 7’s. How thrilling is that to be able to live your childhood dreams?”