Jeremy Swayman explains why he skated to center ice and challenged Joseph Woll to a fight

The Bruins and the Maple Leafs played an entertaining matchup on Thursday that had a real playoff vibe.

It’s looking increasingly likely that they’ll meet in the first round of the playoffs, and Thursday may have given a little preview of what’s to come in just a couple of weeks.

The Bruins and the Leafs combined for a total of 50 penalty minutes, 91 hits, and four fighting majors, as the Bruins won their fourth of four meetings with the Maple Leafs this season.

The game was testy, with Brad Marchand at the center of everything. He collided with Matthew Knies, who had to leave the game in the first period, and later in the game, Max Domi went after him.

Early in the third, Domi delivered a hit on Marchand and tried to get him to drop the mitts, but Marchand refused. Instead, Domi was whistled for roughing, and several players engaged in shoving and other post-whistle antics. 

But we were also close to seeing a goalie fight. As the scrum started, Bruins’ goalie Jeremy Swayman skated almost out to center ice, challenging Maple Leafs goalie Joseph Woll.

Woll didn’t answer to Swayman, who eventually skated back to his crease as things calmed down at the other end of the ice.

Swayman, who saved 28 of 29 shots on Thursday, was asked what went through his mind when he appeared to challenge Woll. His answer was absolutely great.

“I don’t know, I see all my guys go in — it’s a team effort. We all go in. He’s my buddy, I respect the hell out of him and his game. It was just an opportunity, but nothing happened.”

Swayman also said that his focus is purely on stopping pucks, and not participating in scraps.

“I’ll never force something like that,” Swayman said. “If it happens, it happens. It’s hockey, that’s it.” 

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