The Bruins are kicking off the new year, with a new chance.
Providence Bruins starting goaltender Niklas Svedberg will get his first official regular season NHL start tonight against the Nashville Predators. Svedberg was originally called up last week but was sent back down in order to make room for Zach Trotman who has been called up to replace the injured Dennis Seidenberg.
Svedberg finished last year’s AHL season with a 37-8-2 record , a 2.17 GAA and a 0.925 SV%. Svedberg won several outstanding goaltending awards in the AHL and lead the Bruins to a Eastern Conference Semi-Finals appearance in the AHL playoffs before they dropped a 0-3 lead to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after the team was forced to give up top defenceman Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski to Boston during the NHL Playoffs.
Svedberg’s sophomore AHL season has been more of a struggle without Krug and Bartkowski in front of him during the season and also having to lose Kevan Miller, David Warsofsky, and now Zach Trotman to NHL call ups. Svedberg’s record on the year is an impressive 13-5-3 yet is sitting on a monstrous 2.87 GAA and a lowly 0.909 SV%, both of those apart of his adjustment to losing his defence. But now Svedberg gets a chance to prove his ready as an NHL goalie with tonight’s match up against Nashville. Svedberg appeared in 2 games during the 2013-14 pre-season and won both and brought both games into overtime (a shootout win against Washington and an OT win against Winnipeg) letting in 2 goals during both games.
The Bruins have lost 2 in a row and in both cases Tuukka Rask has started having played 5 games in a row. He is obviously fatigued and this is a perfect time for Svedberg to step in. The Bruins last match up against the Predators was a 6-2 win in Nashville on the 23rd of December. The Bruins outplayed the Predators in all three zones and victimized them constantly on mental mistakes and also was the game where Ryan Spooner proved himself a deadly playmaker having his first mutli-point (3 assists) game of his career.
The Bruins need to find a way to replicate their game plan from the 23rd and continue to push Nashville around along the corners in the neutral zone the same way they did before. Despite coming off of two very big loses at the hands of the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders the Bruins have proved they can bounce back from loses this season; taking for example the 2-6 loss to Vancouver was followed up by a win in Buffalo and then a 3 game win streak which included the Nashville game and a 5-0 shutout against the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa.
The Bruins should have no trouble pinning down the Predators and taking an easy 2 points away from Nashville and should also have a very easy time helping Svedberg adjust to the NHL stage.
The game time is still set for 7 PM (EST) at the TD Garden despite the weather in Boston.
(Injury information provided by CBS Sports, Stats provided by HockeyDB.com)