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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Jeremy Swayman Keeps Bruins In Game, Beats Florida Panthers

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Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman deflects a shot during the second period of Game 1 on Monday night in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE — So, how much did goalie Jeremy Swayman mean to the Boston Bruins on Monday night?

“We made a lot of mistakes,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said after his team’s 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers in Game 1.

“If it’s not for Jeremy Swayman, that would have been a lot closer game and maybe they come out on top. We didn’t have enough scoring chances. The score was not indicative of the way the game went.”

The Panthers only beat Swayman once in Monday night’s loss — Matthew Tkachuk whipped a shot from the top of the right circle with Carter Verhaeghe moving in to give Florida a 1-0 lead midway through the second period.

But Swayman would not give up anything else as he set a personal postseason high with 38 saves in the Game 1 win.

In six starts this postseason, Swayman has been The Man with saves on 175 of 184 shots faced.

Swayman is 5-2 with a 1.42/.955 and helped pull Boston out of the Toronto series with a 2-1 overtime win on Saturday night.

“It’s not ‘if you do it right, you get seven [goals].’ It doesn’t work like that,” coach Paul Maurice said.

“He made some really nice saves. We missed some things around the net. I think we have some opportunity to generate more with a different mindset perhaps, but you’re going to find an elite goalie in all the nets going in every net in all the playoff series.”

Enemy Lines: Follow the Bruins at Boston Hockey Now

The Panthers do not feel that they made Swayman work all that hard on Monday night.

Florida had 39 shots on goal, sure, but according to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Panthers only had four high-danger chances in 5-on-5 play in the opening 40 minutes.

That number doubled in the third, but Swayman was playing with a 3-goal lead for a large portion of that period.

“Make his life uncomfortable,” Florida’s Sasha Barkov said when asked how Florida could solve the Boston goalie.

“We had a lot of shots, but he saw most of them. Obviously, he’s a good goalie. He’s going to stop them if he sees the puck. We need to work a little more and get in front of him.”

Tkachuk, as usual, was in agreement with his captain.

“We had a couple of good looks,” Tkachuk said, “but against some of the better goalies in the league, you’ve got to get right in front of him. We were off to the side and maybe looking for plays back door, maybe just putting our stick in front of them. You’ve got to stand right in front of them. … We’ve got to get better at that. That’s probably the number one thing we’ve got to get better at.”

The Panthers brought the house early on, perhaps trying to show it had no rust after a week off between series.

Swayman made a huge save in the first minute, stopping Anton Lundell off a rebound.

If Florida jumps out to a 1-0 lead in the first 60 seconds, the tenor of this game changes — and perhaps the final score does as well.

After all, the Bruins were playing on one days rest.

Instead, Swayman kept his team in the fight.

The Bruins answered.

“I thought we had a great start in general, and that got me going,’’ Swayman said. “My job is to stop the puck regardless of what kind of a save it is.”

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

You can bet on Swayman being back between the pipes.

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. BOSTON BRUINS (ATL2)
BOSTON LEADS BEST-OF-7 SERIES 1-0
GAME 2

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