It was easy to understand why. Ullmark struggled a lot during the preseason, as evidenced by his .839 save %. There was some debate that the Bruins should start their new goaltender even with his preseason play, but the Bruins decided against this and went with Swayman.
The Bruins’ decision proved to be the correct one. They would go on to beat the Dallas Stars by a 3-1 score. In the process, Swayman’s play was absolutely stellar. He went on to save 27 of Dallas’ 28 shots, while looking extremely confident in the process. Thus, he ended the game with a .964 SV%, which certainly was more than enough to allow the Bruins to win.
Although Boston’s offense had plenty of chances, the Stars also had very solid goaltending from Braden Holtby, too. Therefore, it felt more like a battle between the goalies than anything else.
Now, with all of this, I am not saying that Ullmark couldn’t have replicated Swayman’s play if he started against Dallas. In the grand scheme of things, it ultimately does not matter now. We will never know how Ullmark would have performed and Swayman made the Bruins secure their first win of the 2021-22 regular season.
However, Swayman’s play is something that should excite Bruin fans. Since making the NHL team last season, he’s been extremely impressive. In 10 games, he had a 7-3-0 record to go along with a 1.50 GAA and .945 SV%. Obviously the sample size is very small right now, but 22-year-old goaltenders normally do not come into the league and dominate like this so quickly. It’s also encouraging that he appears to be carrying over his success from last season to this one. That of course can change, but we will have to wait and see.
It will be interesting to find out who the Bruins end up starting Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Swayman has earned himself another start, but it also would not be surprising if they opt to give Ullmark his first regular season start as a Bruin. If the latter occurs, it will be fun to see what the 28-year-old is capable of doing now that the games truly matter. If he plays like how he did in Buffalo, the Bruins should have two goalies who are capable of being starters.
Alas, Swayman deserves a lot of love for his first start of the season. All fans should be ecstatic to see what he provides as the year progresses.