Boston Bruins rookie goaltending sensation Jeremy Swayman will get another start with the B’s despite usual backup Jaroslav Halak waiting in the wings after coming off a two week stay on the NHL’s COVID Protocol list.
Halak has been practicing with the team since the beginning of the week as he was coming off the COVID list, so Thursday might would been viewed a bit as rushing the 35-year-old back into game action. The Bruins will go with Swayman on Thursday and Tuukka Rask on Friday in the two back-to-back games against the Sabres in Buffalo, and it sounds like they could go back to the B’s rookie netminder on Sunday afternoon vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins provided he keeps performing at his impressive current level.
Cassidy said Halak’s “conditioning is getting better” as he’s begun working out regularly this week, but it also sounds like he might now be the odd man out behind Rask and the red-hot Swayman in the goalie rotation for the final weeks of the regular season.
“Swayman will play [on Thursday]. Tuukka feels a little bit of the after-effects from yesterday’s game, but that’s normal wear and tear,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “The plan is to put [Rask] in on Friday and we’ll stick with that for now.
“It’s a good problem to have: Finding enough games to get all three [goalies] in the net to get sharp. Tuukka has to play a little bit here coming back from an injury to get his feel back. Swayman has played well. It’s a challenge to get them all their starts and it will be here with 12 games left. We know Jaro will probably not go in this week so that limits him even more. We’ll work on it down the road trying to get [Halak] sharp, but right now it’s Tuukka and Swayman [as the two goalies] in the moment and we’ll see where Halak ends up.”
The 22-year-old Swayman has taken the Bruins by storm while winning four of his first five NHL starts with a 1.78 goals against average and a .938 save percentage and has remained with the Bruins while fellow impressive rookie Dan Vladar was sent back to Providence. It now appears the rookie might be moving in as the backup for the remainder of the season with Halak waiting in the wings if the first-year pro falters after his impressive NHL debut.
As for the rest of the injuries, Brandon Carlo (upper body) and Ondrej Kase (concussion) are skating on their own back in Boston and Kevan Miller and Steve Kampfer are “progressing” from their injuries while with the team on the road trip.