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"No second guesses" for Bruins' Jim Montgomery after starting Linus Ullmark in Game 2 loss to Leafs

Maple Leafs bring it to Bruins in Game 2 to tie playoff series, will the B's answer in Toronto?
Maple Leafs bring it to Bruins in Game 2 to tie playoff series, will the B's answer in Toronto? 01:36

BOSTON -- Sports are all about second guesses. Did a manager leave a pitcher in too long? Should a coach have been a little more aggressive on third down? Why the heck didn't Joe Mazzulla call a timeout to stop a run!?!?!

It's a little different in hockey, where the second guesses usually rest on a how a coach assembles and deploys his lines. That is, unless your team has two starting-caliber goaltenders. And that's the situation that Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery finds himself in once again this postseason, choosing between Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark.

Montgomery and the Bruins have referred to it as a goalie rotation, and the head coach isn't simply playing "eenie meenie" with his two netminders. After going with Swayman in Game 1, Montgomery held true to the rotation and went with Ullmark in Monday night's Game 2.

That is obviously being second guessed Tuesday morning after the Bruins lost 3-2, with the Leafs evening the series at a game apiece as things get set to shift to Toronto for Wednesday night's Game 3. But don't put Montgomery in that camp; going Ullmark in Game 2 was the right decision in his eyes.

"No second guesses," Montgomery said after Monday's loss. "[Ullmark] was terrific. He made multiple big-time saves. It's a strength of our team. Both of them played really well. We only scored two goals."

And Montgomery is right. Ullmark wasn't the reason the Bruins lost Monday night, as the netminder made 30 saves on the 33 shots that he saw. He robbed Callie Jarnkrok with a nice glove save in the second period, and then used his mitt again to snag a potential goal from Nick Robertson.

Those three goals allowed were not the product of rust either, as the first one came off a juicy rebound when Auston Matthews hit the post. John Tavares fired a missile by Ullmark with the Leafs on a power play in the second period, with Boston blue liner Kevin Shattenkirk blocking his goalie's view instead of the shot. And Toronto's game-winning goal was an All-World move by an All-World talent in Matthews that 99.9 percent of goalies would have let in.

Swayman, who stopped 35 of the 36 shots that he saw in Game 1, had a much better defensive performance in front of him on Saturday night. And the Bruins' offense didn't really test Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov or possess the puck , which Montgomery was sure to point that out after Monday's loss. 

"I think it's a function of [Toronto] defending well. It's also a function of we're not playing fast enough," said Montgomery. "We're slow in transition, which is not allowing us to possess pucks and not allowing us to get in on the forecheck."

"Pretty spot on," Ullmark said of his coach's assessment. "There are some things to clean up. I's a long series, now it's all about recharging. Go up to Toronto and duke it out again."

Ullmark said that he found out he'd be starting Game 2 on Sunday and he was grateful for that early heads up. He's not sure if that will continue going forward.

"I'm grateful every time I get an opportunity to go out and play. This is the most fun time of the year," he said. "I don't take anything for granted. I don't think anyone should have more starts than the other. It's all about competing and performance and all about wins."

Now the question becomes who will start in net in Game 3? It feels obvious that the Bruins will go back to Swayman, who is 4-0 overall against the Leafs this season. 

After that, the decision-making will become a little more difficult. If Swayman is lights out again in Game 3, would Montgomery boot the rotation and go the way of Sway in Game 4? Or will he and the Bruins turn to Ullmark again no matter the results on Wednesday night?

The Bruins may know the answer already. They may not know the answer already. We certainly won't know until 45 minutes before the puck drops Wednesday night.

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