Bruins Weekly: Swayman, DeBrusk, Edwards & More

The Boston Bruins just passed the halfway point of their six-game road trip and have gone 3-1-0. As they begin to head back East with two more stops on the trip, it’s time for another Bruins Weekly for The Hockey Writers. We will look at Jeremy Swayman’s success on the road, the Black and Gold will go up against a former teammate, and more.

Swayman Continues Road Dominance

Young goaltenders tend to struggle both in home games, as well as road games. That’s not the case for Swayman. This season, the 23-year-old is 8-2-2 away from the TD Garden with a 1.42 goals-against average (GAA) and a .950 save percentage (SV%). In Saturday’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, he made just 15 saves, but turned aside all seven shots he faced in the third period, including robbing Tomas Hertl at point-blank range with a glove save while down on his stomach with the Bruins clinging to a 2-1 lead.

“I felt it hit me. I thought I smothered it, but it trickled down,” said Swayman. “I don’t know, I have to watch it. It was just a scramble. I wanted to do the best I could. I ended up seeing the puck going from the center to the left side – and hope and a prayer, put the glove up and it worked. I saw it on the stick. As far as the release, I just wanted to put any piece of equipment in front of it.”

Related: Bruins Should Play Swayman As Starting Goalie

That was one of the biggest saves of the season for the University of Maine standout, who is taking advantage of his opportunity with Tuukka Rask retiring in early February. He went 5-1-1 in the month of February with a 1.13 GAA and a .960 SV%, which included 29 saves in a 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 21 to earn him the NHL’s “Rookie of the Month.”

In 11 home games this season, Swayman is 5-5-1 with a 2.57 GAA and a .905 SV%. Regardless of whether it’s at home or on the road, he is playing himself into the No. 1 job as the Bruins begin their final two months of the regular season.

Hello Old Friend

When free agency began in July of 2021, general manager Don Sweeney signed three bottom-six forwards, Erik Haula, Tomas Nosek, and Nick Foligno to help reshape the third and fourth lines. When those veterans were brought in, some had to exit, including Sean Kuraly, who signed a four-year, $10 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Sean Kuraly Columbus Blue Jackets
Sean Kuraly, Columbus Blue Jackets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As the NHL closes in on the final third of the 2021-22 regular season, the Bruins will get their first look at Kuraly and the Blue Jackets Saturday night at Nationwide Arena as they close out their six-game road trip. Kuraly, who struggled the last couple of seasons in Boston, has already tied his career-high in goals with eight, to go along with 10 assists. The two teams will conclude their three-game season series with a home-and-home on April 2 and 4. Columbus is 10 points behind the Washington Capitals for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

DeBrusk Stays Hot

Jake DeBrusk has continued his goal-scoring touch on the current six-game road trip. After scoring goals against the Ottawa Senators and Avalanche in the two games before the trip, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime against the Seattle Kraken on Feb. 24. After picking up an assist on a Brad Marchand first period goal in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 26, he took it to a higher level against the Los Angeles Kings Monday night.

DeBrusk recorded his first career hat trick by scoring the first three goals in a 7-0 win over the Kings. The 25-year-old is up to 14 goals on the season and seems to be fitting in fine on the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand. Each goal that DeBrusk scores only helps raise his trade value for Sweeney.

Bruins Broadcast Faced Odd Situation

While most, if not just about all of the teams in the NHL are back sending their TV announcers on the road, the Bruins are still having Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley calling the games off of monitors at the NESN studios in Watertown, Mass. In Thursday’s overtime win over the Kraken, the decision to keep their TV duo off of road games hit an awkward and embarrassing moment.

Jack Edwards, Bruins play-by-play announcer for NESN (THW Archives)

With 17:24 remaining in the third period of a 2-2 game, Edwards announced in the middle of the broadcast that the fire alarms were going off in the building and they had to evacuate. NESN quickly switched to the Seattle feed from Root Sports for nearly seven minutes of game action while Edwards and Brickley were in the parking lot and the fire department cleared the building.

NESN has made a decision to not send Edwards and Brickley on the road, but several times this season, the broadcast has had its confusing moments because they are trying to guess on the fly what is going on by not being in the arena. It is most likely a safety move by NESN to keep them back in Boston instead of on the road, but it’s time to get them back out on the road on the next road trip.

Four Bruins Earn Milestones

DeBrusk and Swayman got all the headlines in the 7-0 win over the Kings, but four of their teammates reached milestones in the barrage of goals scored by the Black and Gold. Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith each notched their 200th career assist in the game, while Haula recorded his 100th goal of the game in the second period. He would add another goal in the third period to run his total up to seven on the season to go along with 14 assists. Haula has fit in nicely with David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall on the second line since January. Charlie McAvoy also reached a milestone in the same game when he picked up two assists, giving him a new career-high of 34.

The Week Ahead

  • Thursday: at Vegas Golden Knights, 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m.
  • Monday: vs. Los Angeles Kings, 7 p.m.

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