By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s easy to overreact to the new guy, especially after two games of absolutely stellar play. But when it comes to Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, it goes beyond what the 22-year-old is doing in net.READ MORE: Which Team Will Bruins Play In First Round Of Playoffs? It's Looking Like The Penguins
And make no mistake, what he is doing in net is pretty darn incredible. Boston’s rookie netminder followed up his 40-save debut on Tuesday night with another brilliant outing against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, as Swayman turned away 31 of the 33 shots that Washington sent his way. He made some highlight saves once again, including a great breakaway stop against Garnet Hathaway in the first period.
Those two goals he allowed came 19 seconds apart off the sticks of Alexander Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie, when the Caps were on a 5-on-3. There really wasn’t anything that Swayman could do about either as Washington pulled within 3-2 midway through the second period.
What has been most impressive about the rook is how he responds to adversity when it gets thrown his way. As he did Tuesday when the Flyers tied the game in the second, Swayman again responded by throwing up a brick wall. He stopped all 13 shots that he saw the rest of the way, including all 10 in the third period, to lead Boston to a 4-2 victory.
It’s that poise between the pipes that has Bruins fans so sweet on the rookie. He has the mindset of a 10-year veteran, and even when he comes under fire, there is little doubt that he’ll be able to handle it.
That he does it all with a gigantic smile on his face adds to his allure. Swayman is clearly a kid just enjoying himself out there, and doesn’t let the tough times get to him.
“Every game is a great learning experience. My coach from Maine had a great quote: ‘You can’t buy experience at Target.’ That’s what I’m doing right now, learning every day whether it’s practice, at the hotel, traveling or in a games. Today’s great memory is going to get that win in a different building and getting two points that are super important,” he said after the win. “It’s hard not to enjoy that, so yeah, I’m going to have a smile on my face the entire time.”READ MORE: Ondrej Kase Returns To Bruins Practice For First Time Since January
His mindset of not getting too high or too low has always been part of his game, and that isn’t going to change now that he’s reached the highest level.
“That is taught every day. It’s continuing to learn. You’re never going to master it, but you have to control what you can control,” he said. “If Ovechkin is going to shoot he is going score. It’s the next shot. That’s what you have to worry about and that’s all I worry about.”
That Swayman turned away each and every next shot over the 29 minutes after that two-goal outburst proves that no moment is too big for him.
The Bruins will soon have a decision to make, and a pretty tough one. Tuukka Rask will eventually return from a lingering back injury (we think) and Jaroslav Halak will be released from COVID prison. When the Bruins get their top two netminders back, it may spell the end of Swayman and fellow rookie Dan Vladar’s time in the pros. At least temporarily.
But if neither veteran is able to go this weekend, Swayman should get at least one more start against either the Flyers on Saturday or the Capitals on Sunday. He’s carrying his on-ice poise to the locker room as well, and is only concerned about the immediate future.
“My mindset doesn’t change as far as wanting to win and doing whatever I can to help my team win,” he said. “This team is a really good one to be a part of so I’m enjoying every second I can while I can.”
Bruins fans are enjoying what they’re seeing from the young goalie as well. While Swayman isn’t thinking too far ahead, it’s hard not to envision a promising future with him in net for Boston.MORE NEWS: Carles Gil Is Loving Life As The Elite Leader Of New England Revolution