Bruins Head Into Game 2 Looking to Take Advantage of Home Ice

The Bruins will look to grab a 2-0 series lead against the Maple Leafs tonight before heading back to Toronto for games 3 and 4.
Apr 20, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; The Boston Bruins celebrate after defeating the Toronto
Apr 20, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; The Boston Bruins celebrate after defeating the Toronto / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins will head into tonight’s game with the opportunity to take 2-0 series advantage heading into a hostile Toronto. There is a major question that needs to be addressed before tonight’s game: who starts in net for the Bruins?

Jeremy Swayman looked excellent in game 1. He looked poised and the moment did not seem too big for him as this was his first career game 1 start. He posted a 0.972 save percentage as he saved 35 of the 36 shots.

Jim Montgomery has stated in the past that the goalie rotation featuring both Swayman and Linus Ullmark would be utilized this postseason unlike last. But after the performance by Swayman in the team’s victory, this decision just became a whole lot tougher.

How do you start Ullmark after Swayman has a performance like that? Swayman had the Maple Leafs number throughout the regular season as well, so this will be a difficult decision for Montgomery to make.

One key for tonight’s game will be to let the Maple Leafs beat themselves. They (the Bruins) cannot fall into the Max Domi, Tyler Bertuzzi trap of trying to draw penalties. On multiple occasions Saturday night, Max Domi tried to bait Bruins players into taking a bad penalty.

He was successful on one when he drew Charlie McAvoy into taking a matching penalty (a swap that the Maple Leafs will gladly take). The Bruins went 2 for 5 on the powerplay, while the Leafs went 0 for 3.  The Bruins will need to continue to match Toronto’s physical play while staying out of the penalty box.

Another factor heading into the match up tonight will be the potential return of William Nylander. The Bruins were able to contain the talented first line of the Leafs in Game 1. However, with the potential return of Nylander, it could pose more of a threat.

The Leafs tend to spread out their talented forwards with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander all being on separate lines. Given that the Leafs only scored 1 goal Saturday night, they could be aggressive and move Nylander or Marner up to the first line to pair with Matthews. Look for the Leafs lines to be shaken up a little if Nylander is in fact healthy enough to play.

The Bruins have the offensive and defensive talent to go toe to toe with the Maple Leafs. The biggest advantage, by far, is the two goalies for the Bruins. So, who will it be tonight? I expect to see Ullmark because if Swayman was to go tonight and have another stellar performance, how do you put Ullmark in the net at all?

The Bruins need to stick with the formula that got them here and that is the goalie tandem. We can all second guess the decision tomorrow, but the Bruins didn’t keep him at the deadline just for him to sit on the bench and watch.

I think Montgomery has the same train of thought as both goalies have not played back to back games since early February. Whoever gets the nod tonight will be ready to go for puck drop at 8 p.m.

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