Jeremy Swayman

As befitting two Alaskans who play in the planet’s best hockey league, Jeremy Swayman of Anchorage and Pheonix Copley of North Pole engineered world-class goaltending Thursday night.

Swayman earned his career high-tying third shutout of the season when he stopped 36 shots in Winnipeg to guide the NHL-leading Boston Bruins (51-11-5) to a 3-0 victory that snapped – horrors! – their two-game losing streak.

Swayman, who benefitted from 20 blocked shots by the crew in front of him, snuffed 10 power-play shots in pocketing his eighth career shutout and taking first star of the game honors. Those eight bagels have come in far less than three full seasons. Remember, he debuted in the 2020-21 NHL season truncated by the pandemic, and after a stint that season with Providence of the American Hockey League following a three-season All-America college career at Maine. His eight NHL shutouts have come in 75 career starts.

Swayman, 24, woke up Friday third in the NHL in goals-against average (2.28) and tied for sixth in save percentage (.917). He’s 17-6-4 this season and 47-23-7 for his NHL career.

The 36 saves he made Thursday were second-most among his career shutouts. He made 42 saves in a shutout in Nashville in December, 2021. (Also, small sample size, sure, but Swayman rules the Predators – two career starts against them, both at Bridgestone Arena in Music City, two shutouts, 70 saves. Gulp.)

Swayman is an equal-opportunity shutout guy – of his eight career clean sheets, four have come on home ice at TD Garden and four have come on the road.

Also, he’s due a new contract, which should feature a significant raise over his current three-year, $3.15 million entry-level deal that expires at season’s end, when he becomes a restricted free agent.

After Swayman dropped an anvil on the Jets in Manitoba on Thursday night, Copley furnished the Los Angeles Kings 29 saves in a 4-1 home-ice victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Bonus nugget: One of the referees was former Alaska Aces defenseman and 2014 Kelly Cup winner Corey Syvret.)

Pheonix Copley

Copley, 31, improved to 21-4-3 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.

In his last five starts, he’s 4-0-1, 2.14, .918.

Copley, 31, already has a one-year contract extension in place for next season, when he will make $1.5 million, a sweet raise over his $825,000 deal for the current season.

Meanwhile, two Alaskans who aren’t pros but show signs they likely will reach play-for-pay levels, combined for a couple goals Thursday night in the U.S. Hockey League, the nation’s top junior circuit.

Colorado College-bound winger Bret Link of Anchorage scored two goals for the Fargo Force in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Waterloo Black Hawks. Linemate Mac Swanson of Anchorage, a North Dakota commit, assisted on both goals.

Link, 20, owns 4-1—5 totals on his current four-game point streak, which follows a four-game point drought. He’s 20-27—47 in 49 games this season and his plus-35 rating ranks second on the circuit. His production Thursday included a career-high nine shots on goal.

Swanson, a 17-year-old rookie, is 1-4—5 in a three-game point streak, which followed a four-game point drought. He’s 10-34—44 in 45 games and his plus-27 ranks tied for eighth in the league.

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