Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman on top of his game in the playoffs

BEDFORD — Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman can inspire confidence away from the crease.

That astute observation was conveyed by Bruins’ head coach Jim Montgomery upon the team’s return from Tuesday night’s thrilling 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 5 at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla. The Bruins trail in the series, 3-2.

Swayman was the reason the Bruins forced a Game 6 on Friday night at the TD Garden. The former Maine Black Bear from Anchorage, Alaska stopped 28 shots, including 10 in the tumultuous third period with the Bruins clinging to a one-goal lead.

“He’s been fantastic since day one of the playoffs,” said Montgomery during a Wednesday afternoon press briefing at Hanscom Field. “He’s been incredible for us and also, in between timeouts, he comes by the bench.

“He doesn’t talk to the bench. But just the way he carries himself, there is a confidence and an aura about him. He (feels) invincible, which makes us really confident that we are in a good place.

“There was the pull goalie situation. I was behind the bench and they are not scoring. We have Swayman in net. He has clearly gone to a next level.”

The 6-2, 197-pound Swayman combines athleticism and positional awareness, two attributes that have solidified his role as the Bruins No. 1 goaltender and one of the statistically best in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Swayman collected his sixth win of the playoffs, but his pivotal numbers were skewered by the nine goals he gave up in consecutive losses to Florida at the Garden. Swayman has given up 23 goals in 11 starts for a 2.16 goals against average while his .933 save percentage is the best among active goalies in the playoffs.

“The athleticism is god-given ability,” said Montgomery. “The way he reads plays and his hockey sense as a goaltender is allowing him to get to some saves a normal goaltender wouldn’t.”

The Bruins and the Panthers have two days in between games. Montgomery feels the down time will benefit Swayman, who has started every match since Game 3 of the Bruins’ seven-game series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“We still monitor it (workload),” said Montgomery. “But with the two days off in between it is a kind off moot point for the next game. But you like it. This is where in a series it is beneficial for everybody.”

Time in the box

The Bruins’ penalty kill has been serviceably successful in the playoffs because it’s had to be. The Bruins have allowed seven goals with a penalty kill success rate of 84.8 percent despite the team’s frequent trips to the box. The Bruins were issued five penalties in Game 5 that included their sixth too many men on the ice infraction of the playoffs.

“It was something that was a little problematic during the year,” said Montgomery. “This series has been a little more problematic than the other series because we have spent a little bit more time in our own end.

“You usually take them in your own end.”

Marchand status

Montgomery would not say if first line left wing and team captain Brad Marchand would be available for Game 6.

“He is day to day and we just got back so will so we’ll more probably know (Thursday),” said Montgomery. “We have a lot of time here, a couple of days.”

Marchand and Panthers center Sam Bennett were involved in a violent collision in front of the Boston bench in the first period of Game 3. Marchand collapsed onto the ice surface and staggered into the Bruins bench. Bennett was shown making upward motion towards Marchand’s head but there was no resulting penalty or follow up by the league.

Blue line goals

The Bruins have benefitted from some timely backend scoring in the playoffs. Charlie McAvoy’s first goal of the playoffs proved to be the winner in Game 5. McAvoy put the Bruins up 2-1 at 10:25 of the second period.

Although he is known as a stay-at-home defenseman, Brandon Carlo leads the blue liners with three goals. Hampus Lindholm and Mason Lohrei have one goal apiece. Lindholm and Lohrei had three assists apiece, while McAvoy has five.

“Both teams have really shrunk the offensive zone, which has left our defensemen open,” said Montgomery. “I think our defensemen are doing a really good job of being shoot first and getting pucks through and being more assertive in transition from defense to offense as well.”


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