If the Bruins are going to pull off a road upset over the Hurricanes in Game 7, they’re likely going to need a big game from goaltender Jeremy Swayman. Fortunately, the precocious 23-year-old is relishing the opportunity.
Swayman stopped 23 of 25 Carolina shots in Boston’s 5-2 win Thursday night, making his fourth straight start after the B’s lost the first two games of the series. Overall, he’s posted a .913 save percentage and allowed 10 goals in his four starts. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s come up with a handful of big saves in key moments.
His unflappable nature fits right in with the Patrice Bergerons of the world, and there’s a chance that serves him well when he takes the ice for his first career Game 7. Swayman was asked after the win how many Game 7s he’s thought about playing in his life.
“Countless,” Swayman responded. “It’s a dream come true. Can’t wait.”
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Swayman made nine saves on high-danger scoring chances in the first two periods of Game 6. The Hurricanes finally broke through early in the third when Seth Jarvis found Andrei Svechnikov all alone down the left side, and Swayman couldn’t quite make what would’ve been a bailout save.
It was soon after that first goal that Swayman had his biggest moment of the night, a clutch stop against Martin Nečas, all alone in front. The Bruins scored their third goal soon after that, and never looked back.
Swayman is very even-keeled in his demeanor, so it’s not at all surprising that he treated that save on Nečas just like any other. His short-memory approach helps keep him present.
“One save at a time, whether it’s a goal or save, big or small, just moving onto the next shot, that’s all I care about,” Swayman said. “Obviously we responded really well, got the building going. That was great. We were buzzing from there.”
He’s also carrying that mentality about Game 7 itself. Everyone knows it’s the biggest game of Swayman’s career so far, but he can’t look at it that way. Swayman’s calming presence should give the Bruins confidence that they can buck the trends that have carried on in their road games this series, and shock people on Saturday. If they do, it’s likely that Swayman is at the center of it all.
“It’s no bigger or smaller than any game I’ve played before,” Swayman said. “I want to make sure I’m coming in with that mentality, and we want to win, we’re going to do everything we can. Can’t wait to get on the ice.”
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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.