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Around The Rinks: Another strong job by Jeremy Swayman keeps Boston Bruins’ playoff hopes alive

by | May 15, 2024 | Cover Story, Hockey

The Boston Bruins’ season remains alive, and Jeremy Swayman remains a big reason why.

The 25-year-old goaltender from Anchorage helped the Bruins skirt Stanley Cup elimination Tuesday night, when he snuffed 28 shots to backstop a 2-1 road victory over the Florida Panthers and force Game 6 of the second-round series Friday night in Boston.

Florida leads 3-2 in the best-of-7 series, with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Swayman’s .966 save percentage Tuesday marked the ninth time in 11 starts in these playoffs that he has delivered a save percentage of .923 or higher. His .933 playoff save percentage leads all NHL goalies who have played more than three games and his 2.16 goals-against average ranks second. Also, Swayman easily tops the circuit in goals-saved-above average – hockey-reference.com has him at 10.42 GSAA and naturalstattrick.com pegs him at 10.40. No other goalie has even reached a GSAA of 6.0.

Tuesday, Swayman stopped all 10 shots he faced in the third period, including Sam Reinhart’s point-blank bid in the waning seconds with Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky on the bench for an extra attacker. Reinhart scored the Panthers’ only goal on a second-period rebound to generate a 1-1 tie – his 57 regular-season goals were second in the league.

But Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy furnished the go-ahead goal just four minutes after Reinhart’s equalizer. Swayman held the fort the rest of the way.

Tuesday was basically par for the course for playoff Swayman. Naturalstattrick.com reported his expected goals against at 2.42; Swayman checked in at 1.00 for actual goals against.

Swayman entered the playoffs after a regular season in which he far exceeded league averages in goals-against average and save percentage. His 2.53 goals-against average compared to 2.91 league-wide and his .916 save percentage far outpaced the league average of .903. Swayman made his first All-Star Game, one season after he and creasemate Linus Ullmark won the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals against in the regular season.

The Bruins are trying to turn the tables on the Panthers. Florida last season trailed a first-round series between the clubs 3-1 before roaring back to upset the Bruins, who had set an NHL regular-season record for most standings points.

Swayman’s performance Tuesday also doubled as a gift hard to top – it came on his dad Ken’s birthday.

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