BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins fought their way to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, righting the ship after losing two straight games. It was a positive step for the team, and it came via a major personal milestone for goaltender Niklas Svedberg.
The 24-year-old Swede got his first opportunity to play in the NHL, and he walked away not only having earned two points for the B’s, but also earning quite a bit of respect from his teammates.
“Yeah he played great, real good,” said Milan Lucic, who assisted on the Bruins’ second goal in the third period. “Obviously, [there are some] nerves playing your first NHL game, but you can see that he made some big saves for us and he was pretty confident in net there. We talked about it, we wanted to play hard for him and try to get him a big win in his first NHL game.”
With 30 saves on 32 shots, the Bruins got that win, and the common refrain from the Bruins’ locker room was praise for Svedberg’s composure.
“He did a great job. He really stepped up,” said Brad Marchand, who scored the game-winner in overtime. “He just seemed so calm out there and very poised. It’s pretty rare to see that out of a young guy coming up for his first game, but very impressive.”
Johnny Boychuk, who scored the Bruins’ first goal of the night, shared that sentiment.
“Oh, he played really well,” Boychuk said. “I mean for his first game he looked pretty comfortable and he played extremely well and I’m just happy to see him get that first win under his belt.”
Svedberg said there wasn’t enough time for his family to fly to Boston from Sweden, but he didn’t let that affect the most important day of his career to date.
“Every since I started playing, this is where I wanted to be, so I’m real happy with this win,” Svedberg said. “It’s just one game but it’s real fun to get the win in my first game.”
In his first 61 minutes of NHL action, Svedberg said he accumulated a bit of a debt already. Defenseman Matt Bartkowski covered an open net to make a save early in the game, prompting Svedberg to say, “I’ll have to give him something for that.” But Bartkowski may have to wait a bit, as Claude Julien said after the game that the plan was to send Svedberg right back to Providence, where he’s 13-5-3 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.87 GAA this season.
“I thought in the second when they did throw a lot of pucks at him, he stood tall and made some good saves,” Julien said. “I liked his game tonight. He was good and he just showed us that he’s a guy we need to look at and keep an eye on. He’s going to head back to Providence tomorrow, but there’s a good chance you’re going to see him here again very soon.”