Jeremy Swayman continues his ridiculous run
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Through the opening 12 games of the 2023-24 Bruins season, let’s not kid ourselves… This has been The Jeremy Swayman Show.
Entering the year as Boston’s 1B behind the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark, Swayman has been absolutely ridiculous out of the gate, and is making the 1A-1B situation a legitimate conversation piece. (Which is honestly saying something considering that Ullmark still has four wins and a .926 save percentage through his first six appearances of the season. Like, those are numbers most would kill for.)
It’s a testament to how downright insane Swayman has played through the first month of the season, and Monday night in Dallas may have featured his best performance to date.
Tagged for 37 shots, Swayman turned aside all but two. The second goal surrendered was a downright impossible-to-stop look, too, as the Stars had a 6-on-5 advantage during that spell and scored on what was a shoulder-height deflection from Joe Pavelski from about 30 feet out. Nobody’s stopping that, and if they do, it’s through blind luck and blind luck alone.
But for 60 minutes, Swayman had to be the guy. And he was.
He had some brilliant stops on ex-Bruin Craig Smith throughout the night, and he saved the B’s asses when they outright tried to fumble away a power-play opportunity and turn it into a shorthanded goal against. All in all, Swayman’s night featured stops on 12 of the 13 high-danger shots faced during all-situation play, according to Natural Stat Trick, while his expected goals against average clocked in at 3.17.
Just a straight-up bonkers performance.
And with the win, Swayman improved to 6-0-0, and the 35-of-37 performance kept his season save percentage up over .950, though it ‘dipped’ from .954 to .952 in the win.
But the win would not have been possible without some big-time contributions from a pair of B’s rookies, as both Johnny Beecher and Mason Lohrei scored their first NHL goals in Monday’s contest.
The goal, which was a product of the Stars giving Beecher way too much time and way too much space, was good for the New York-born center’s first NHL goal. It also made him the first Bruins first-round pick to score their first NHL goal with the club since Jakub Zboril scored his first career goal last November.
Beecher’s goal also came with an assist from Hampus Lindholm, which was good for his second of the season, and his second in as many games amid what’s been a quiet start to his 2023-24 season.
And hit with an excellent pass from Danton Heinen, the 6-foot-4 Lohrei showed the promise he displayed at Ohio State (and Green Bay before that) and wasted no time with an absolute rip through the Stars’ Jake Oettinger.
It’s the offensive instincts that made Lohrei a late-preseason contender for a roster spot out of the gate, and what the Bruins hope Lohrei brings to the left side of the franchise’s defense corps in the now and for the foreseeable future regardless of how long this current run with the club ends up lasting.
With the goal, Beecher and Lohrei became the first pair of B’s rookies to score their first NHL goals in the same game since Jake DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy scored on Opening Night back in 2017.
The Bruins will return home for a Thursday night head-to-head with the Islanders.