The Bruins finally seized momentum, and just needed Jeremy Swayman to fortify.
Less than 30 seconds after Charlie Coyle’s game-tying shorthanded goal, the Carolina Hurricanes threatened to get the lead right back. But Swayman was there to stop two quick shots in succession from Carolina’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nino Niederreiter. The young goalie had made his mark in his first career playoff start, and the Bruins were off and running.
Swayman made 25 saves in all against the Hurricanes, backstopping the Bruins to a 4-2 win in Game 3 of their opening-round Stanley Cup Playoff series. Boston got sparks from all the right people. Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, and David Pastrnak all scored, penalty-kill specialist Derek Forbort stopped nine pucks of his own. And Swayman made a handful of timely saves, including three during Carolina power plays.
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The typically unflappable Swayman told reporters after the game that he tried his best to keep it simple and let the game come to him. It got chaotic at times in front of the net, so it was important for Swayman to zero in on the vulcanized rubber.
“It’s playing what’s in front of you,” Swayman said. “It doesn’t matter who’s in front of you. Every guy in this league has the ability to score and make plays. So, it’s just seeing reads, making sure that I’m doing whatever I can to keep the puck out of the net, regardless of who’s on the ice.”
Head coach Bruce Cassidy wants to see Swayman build off this single win, but wasn’t surprised to see his precocious goalie maintain his air of calmness.
“That’s his demeanor and I think that won’t change,” Cassidy said on Swayman. “The farther we go along, some of that will get tested, obviously. For a young guy, these are the most important games he’s probably ever played, so we’ll see. But we knew that about him.
“I think it says what it always has, he’s consistent, he’s a good pro, for a young guy, he’s a really good pro. He’ll get tested again Sunday, but he passed his first one.”
Swayman had one blemish on the night, when Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin fired a stoppable puck through low traffic and past Swayman’s glove side. But there’s something to build on for a lot of people on the Bruins’ roster. Most importantly, they’re back in the series. And one of their most important young players got some good home playoff experience under his belt.
“That was special,” Swayman said, on the TD Garden atmosphere. “The only time I had was last year when COVID allowed fans to come in, so that was obviously electric, but it’s a great experience whenever you walk into a full building here, and the playoffs is a whole other level. So, it was so great to get the win in front of our hometown tonight.”
PHOTOS: Bruins take on Hurricanes in Game 3 of 2022 playoff series
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.