canada africa partner reservation Jeremy Swayman was Bruins MVP in first-round win against Leafs – NBC Sports Boston

Jeremy Swayman was Bruins MVP in first-round win against Leafs – NBC Sports Boston

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BOSTON – The Bruins would be planning their summer vacation right now if not for Jeremy Swayman’s stellar performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 25-year-old goaltender was the Bruins’ most valuable player in the series, especially during their 2-1 overtime victory in Game 7 Saturday night at TD Garden.

“I’m so grateful and so proud of these guys in this locker room,” Swayman said after the game. “What a feeling to do this for these fans.”

Swayman made 30 saves on 31 shots in the series clincher as the Bruins closed out the series and secured a second-round matchup with the Florida Panthers.

“I think he was our best player in the series and it wasn’t even close,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said of Swayman. “I think his confidence and his swagger permeated the group. It took a while, but it’s happening.”

Swayman started Game 1 and led the Bruins to a 5-1 victory. He did not play in Game 2 as the B’s continued their regular season goalie rotation. Linus Ullmark got the start and played well, but the Leafs won 3–2 to even the series. Swayman played great again in Game 3 in Toronto, making it very difficult to pick him out of the net.

Montgomery made a few questionable decisions in this series, but one lineup decision he consistently got right was sticking with Swayman, and the young netminder rewarded his coach’s faith with fantastic results.

Swayman made six starts in the series, allowing two or fewer goals in each series. He made 172 saves on 182 shots for a save percentage of .950, which is the best among all goaltenders in Round 1 who played in at least four games.

Based on the quality and quantity of their scoring chances, the Leafs were expected to score 16.58 goals against Swayman, per Natural Stat Trick. But they only got the puck past him nine times.

Swayman had to be nearly perfect in the final three games of the series as the Bruins struggled to generate offense during that period. The B’s scored just one goal in Games 5 and 6, and in Game 7 they found the back of the net just once.

Swayman’s margin for error was razor thin, but he stepped up with a number of saves to advance the Bruins to the second round. The Bruins need him to be as good in Round 2 if they want to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2019.

The Panthers may be the favorites to win the Stanley Cup after finishing first in the Atlantic Division and then eliminating the Tampa Bay Lighting in five games in Round 1. The defending Eastern Conference champions scored at least three goals in each of those five games against the Lightning. Florida is loaded up front with plenty of depth and elite talent.

It will be a tough series for the Bruins, but they will have a chance if Swayman continues to play at such a high level. He’s stuck now and in the play-offs sometimes a good goalkeeper is enough to make a deep run.