Jeremy Swayman will get the start in net Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers following an impressive performance in the Bruins’ season opener against the Dallas Stars, but coach Bruce Cassidy said the competition between Swayman and Linus Ullmark is still open.
Swayman stopped 27 of 28 shots against the Stars, picking up where he left off after making a splash in a short time with the Bruins last season.
“We liked Sway’s game in the opener against Dallas on Saturday, so we’ll give him the net again,” Cassidy said.
Ullmark will make his first start of the season Friday against his former team, the Sabres, in Buffalo.
Cassidy said the plan was always to split these two games between the goalies.
Ullmark spent six seasons in Buffalo before signing a four-year, $20 million contract with the Bruins in July. He’ll have plenty of familiarity, but Cassidy said that familiarity works both ways.
“He knows them better than anybody,” Cassidy said. “They probably know him better than anybody. So there’s always a flip side to both of those. But hopefully he’s ready to go.”
Ullmark will see his first regular-season action since April 13, when he was pulled 4:54 into a 3-2 loss to the Bruins because of a lower-body injury.
The Bruins expected his progress to come gradually throughout training camp. In three preseason games, Ullmark suffered two overtime losses and gave up 10 goals on 62 shots.
Cassidy said Ullmark has looked more comfortable recently in practice.
“You’re seeing a lot of good pucks in practice, so sometimes it can get tough on goalies,” Cassidy said. “You’re seeing a lot of power plays down there from [Patrice Bergeron’s] group, and they can rip it. He looks like he’s battling there.
“He’s in a good place in the locker room. I’m sure he wants the net. Disappointed he didn’t get the start. But as we said to them, it’s a competition, so when you get your chance, do what you need to do to stay in the net so we don’t take you out. That’s kind of the message to both of them.”
The Bruins were able to get two good looks at the Flyers during the preseason, and Cassidy kept an eye on their 6-1 win Monday over the Seattle Kraken.
Philadelphia missed the playoffs a year ago, but Cassidy saw a focused group coming into this season.
“They look like they’re ready to play,” he said. “They’re a good team. I can’t go into everything that happened to them last year. Obviously they didn’t finish the way they wanted to, but they’re a solid team and we expect that they’ll play us hard. They always do up there.”
The Bruins went 0 for 3 on the power play against Dallas. Cassidy said how the power play adjusts depends on what the defense gives it.
“I think sometimes it depends on what the [penalty] kill is doing,” he said. “If it’s very passive and packed in like Dallas the other day, maybe you need to move to open up some seams. Dallas will give you those elbow shots and they want to rebound, block that first one, and get it clear.
“I thought we had some good moments on it and then we took ourselves out of some power plays against them twice, and then too many men cost us a full one again.
“If they’re a high-pressure team, then maybe you’ve got to be in your spots so guys can make those no-look passes. They know where everyone is, the puck’s going there blind.
“When a team is a little more passive, then you have to get moving to open up some seams — hopefully get them moving their sticks, flipping their sticks, turning — and that’s when things open up.”
The Bruins have been in the top 10 in power-play percentage in each of the last six seasons.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.