Bruins need to give Jeremy Swayman extended run after stellar start

Bruins need to give Jeremy Swayman extended run after stellar start originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Jeremy Swayman is enjoying one of the best starts to an NHL season by a goalie in Boston Bruins history, and it would behoove the team to keep him in the net and see just how far he can extend this stellar run of results.

Swayman played fantastic Monday night against an excellent Dallas Stars team that leads the Central Division and is viewed by many as a legit Stanley Cup contender.

The 24-year-old netminder made 35 saves on 37 shots (.943 save percentage), including stops on 12 of the 13 high-danger chances he faced, which is a remarkable percentage. The Bruins had leads of 2-0 and 3-1, and unlike last Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings, they preserved their third-period advantage and won 3-2.

"We knew they were gonna come out (strong)," Swayman told reporters postgame. "They had a long (road) trip, and they pushed, kudos to them. It's always a fun battle in this building. I wanted to do my job, the guys in front of me were working their butts off, too, and making sure we were leaving this trip with at least two points. It's a great team win."

Swayman is 6-0-0 with a .952 save percentage and a 1.49 GAA. And he's not just dominating against inferior opponents, either. Four of Swayman's six victories have come against playoff-caliber teams in the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Stars.

“I think he looks bigger in the crease,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told NESN when asked about Swayman postgame. “I think he’s more poised in there. At the end of the second period there's five seconds left and he just held that puck. Last year he might've taken a faceoff. His awareness, his confidence and controlling the game from the crease is remarkable.”

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Whenever the Bruins have lost control of the game and the opponent is hitting them with scoring chance after scoring chance, Swayman has stood tall and slammed the door shut. He did so against the Stars, and also in the second period of last week's win over the Leafs. The Leafs had so many point-blank chances in that period and Swayman kept the score tied.

The Bruins played both Swayman and Linus Ullmark 41 games apiece during the 2021-22 season. But last year, as Ullmark was embarking on a Vezina Trophy-winning campaign, the Swedish goalie ended up playing a career-high 49 games. Swayman played in 37 as a result.

The Bruins were right to make Ullmark the No. 1 last year because he was playing out of his mind. He ended up winning the goalie triple crown by leading the league in wins, save percentage and GAA. A similar scenario appears to be unfolding right now with Swayman, who now ranks tied for second in wins, second in save percentage and third in GAA.

Swayman deserves to get several starts in a row, and he shouldn't come out if the results remain very positive. Not only does he deserve this extended run based on performance, the Bruins also need to see if he can handle a workload of 45-55 games.

Swayman, at just 24 years old, represents a bright long-term future in net for Boston. If he's going to be the No. 1 netminder for the next decade or more, the team needs to see how he performs with a real starter-level amount of games played.

The Bruins don't play again until Thursday when they take on the Islanders in New York. That's multiple days between games. Rest isn't an issue, so Swayman should absolutely go back in net for that matchup. He deserves to keep building on this run of success, which might be the start of his own Vezina campaign.

And if he picks up another win Thursday, he'll tie Tim Thomas for the best win streak to start a season by a Bruins goalie at 7-0-0.