Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy says goalie Jeremy Swayman has started to gain the edge on fellow netminder Linus Ullmark, as the young tender in Swayman has caught fire as of late.
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“(Jeremy) Swayman’s had a good run here,” Bruce Cassidy said. “We’re getting to the point of the season where production matters maybe a little more than early on when you’re still sorting through who’s the better at any position. They both were gonna get marked for X amount of starts unless one completely failed and (the other) ran away with it.
“Now you’re starting to see Sway separate himself a little bit so now it’s up to Linus to accept that challenge and want the net back in terms of what can he do to help the team win in that regard.
Swayman was sent down after Tuukka Rask came back, but since Rask’s failed comeback attempt that was followed by retirement, it opened the door yet again for Swayman — who has not disappointed.
While it was rather an evenly fought battle at the beginning of the year, Swayman has started to gain the edge going 7-0-1 in his past eight. At 15-7-3 on the year, the 23-year-old has a .927 save percentage on the year, compared to Ullmark, who lies at just .907.
Cassidy notes that the two do seem to have a strong bond though, and do have healthy competition with each other from the looks of it. Swayman and Ullmark have started the beloved postgame ritual after wins, where they bow to each other, throw their hands up before hugging each other.
“As for the support, they can speak to it better than me, I just see what everyone else sees — they seem like they get along very well,” said Cassidy. “Both younger guys, obviously Swayman is still in his infancy in his career compared to Ullmark, but it’s not like Linus is like Tuukka (Rask) who’s been around for 15 years, so I think that helps them both, knowing that they’re still sort of getting started. They’re relatively new to Boston as well.
“I think they have those things going for them,” Cassidy went on to say, “in terms of being able to talk to each other in circumstances that, ‘Hey we’re both going through the same thing at the same time almost — let’s make sure we’re in it together and do what we need to do to help each other along the way.’ Then at some point, it’s just natural competition — one’s gonna wanna be better than the other so you can get the net.
“That’s the part they have to make sure where the body language doesn’t come in or they don’t stop supporting one another. So far I haven’t seen that — they seem to be good teammates.”
Ullmark will get the start Monday night vs. the Kings, making his 29th appearance of the year. The 28-year-old will look to improve upon his already strong 17-9-1 record in net this season.
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