After stopping 71 of the first 75 shots he’s ever faced in the NHL and going 2-0-0 with a .947 save percentage, Boston Bruins rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman will make his third straight start Saturday when the Bruins take on the Philadelphia Flyers again in Philadelphia.
With veteran goalie Tuukka Rask not quite ready to go Saturday and the team trying to start hammering a nail in the Flyers’ collective coffin, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and the team’s goaltending department decided it was better to ride the hot hand and go with Jeremy Swayman for another crucial two points in Philly. If Rask can’t go on Sunday, then the Bruins plan to go their other rookie goalie, Dan Vladar, 23, who’s also impressed in his first three NHL starts going 2-1-0 with a 2.22 GAA and.922 save percentage.
“We want to put the best guy in there, the guy who gives us the best chance to win,” Cassidy said of the decision to start Jeremy Swayman again. “Good for ‘Sway’. Obviously, we wouldn’t be running him back out there if he wasn’t performing like he is — we didn’t know, had a good idea because of his résumé, but you never know till you take that next step, and so far so good.”
In his first two NHL starts, the 22-year-old former University of Maine standout has shown why he was a 2020 Hobey Baker Award finalist and given the Bruins hope between the pipes now and for the future. He’s shown poise in both games he’s started and an ability to not get rattled when the Flyers scored two quickies on him in a 4-2 Bruins Tuesday and then again Thursday when the Capitals scored two powerplay goals in 21 seconds, including one from Capitals captain and future hall of famer Alexander Ovechkin, in another 4-2 Bruins win.
“He shouldn’t have got upset because they were good shots,” Cassidy said of Jeremy Swayman moving on after those two quickies. “But he could’ve started second-guessing himself, right? That, ‘Hey maybe I should have made those saves and I let a lead get away, and now what?’ … Simply put, I think he just worries about making the next save, which is a great mentality to have at any position, but particularly a goaltender.”
As for Swayman’s take on that potential turning point Thursday and facing off against legends like Ovechkin and former Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
“Hey, it’s Alexander Ovechkin, that’s going to happen,” Jeremy Swayman said in his postgame presser on Thursday. “It’s an incredible thing. You always dream of it, playing against the greats in the game. And to do that also with (Zdeno) Chara on the blue line, too, that’s a cool thing. But again, you don’t want to get too caught up in it.”