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Swayman Shines in Bruins' Shootout Loss to Rangers

Netminder makes 33 saves (plus five more in the SO) as Boston grabs point

by Eric Russo @erusso22 /

NEW YORK - Jeremy Swayman had this one circled on his calendar for a long time.

Despite growing up some 4,000 miles away in Anchorage, Alaska, the netminder maintains a fondness for Madison Square Garden, where his father, Ken - who grew up in Brooklyn - attended games during his youth.

And while his dad didn't make the trip to the Big Apple - though he thought about it - Swayman was thrilled to have the chance to make his MSG debut on Tuesday night, even if it didn't end as well as he would've hoped.

"Pretty textbook. It was awesome," said Swayman, whose sister was in attendance. "Pretty cool being in the Garden for the first time knowing he was here when he was younger. Definitely a sentimental game for me. Coming out with one point isn't as satisfying so can't wait to come back and get two."

The 23-year-old certainly did his part, making 33 saves (plus five more in the shootout) to help the Bruins secure a point in a 2-1, nine-round shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

"It's good for him. Good for his confidence," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of Swayman going head-to-head with Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, the 26-year-old who has been one of the league's top netminders this season during his third full campaign in the NHL.

"Shesterkin's a young guy that's battled through now for a few years. Now it looks like he's certainly established himself. We don't see him that often, but I know his numbers certainly back that up. Obviously, our hope is to get Sway at that level at some point, and at a consistent level. Tonight, he certainly helped himself with that."

Swayman, fresh off a shutout of the Senators on Saturday afternoon, saw just two shots in the first period, but remained sharp as the Rangers pushed for the equalizer well into the third period. Even after allowing Filip Chytil to knot things up at 6:45 of the third on a second-effort rebound, Swayman - who acknowledged he'd like to have the initial save back - locked things down and held the Rangers off the board for six consecutive sets of the shootout before K'Andre Miller ended it in Round 9.

"His confidence, his quiet confidence, it gives us some," said Charlie Coyle, who potted Boston's lone goal just 3:39 into the game off a Craig Smith rebound. "When you have a goalie like that - yeah, he hasn't been here long, but he kind of plays like he has which is a great thing. It makes us in front of him…we can just play. We're not worried about who's back there."

Video: Bruins Lose in a Shootout Against NYR

At the other end, Shesterkin (31 saves) was just as dialed in, denying a number of point-blank chances throughout the evening, including a highlight-reel glove stop of a Taylor Hall breakaway attempt in the third period.

"I think both goalies were good, to be honest with you," said Cassidy. "Swayman, point-blank in front of the net, I think it was the start of the second period, a high-end play. Some breakaways late. The game opened up a little bit there. Hall had a breakaway, was another good save - backdoor on [David Pastrnak] in overtime.

"I think both goalies, I'd put in that category, were very good tonight. That's why it ended up 1-1, probably. A lot of good stops."

In a bizarre turn of events, Shesterkin was pulled from the game by the concussion spotter in the closing seconds of overtime after being knocked to the ice by Smith during a net-front scramble a few moments earlier. The puck ended up by Shesterkin, but the goal was waved off by the officials for goalie interference and Smith was given a two-minute penalty. Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere was also given two minutes for roughing.

Shesterkin missed the final 41 seconds of the overtime, replaced by Alexandar Georgiev, before returning for the nine-round shootout. Jake DeBrusk and Coyle scored on two of Boston's first three attempts before the B's went six straight rounds without a goal.

"You're putting guys out that have scored a little bit in the league. Goalie [coach] Bob [Essensa] has a lot better idea. He runs that at the end of practice," Cassidy said of the strategy in choosing shooters. "Might be a guy that's been hot recently…he might tilt toward a shooter versus a deeker…we weren't sure, to be honest with you; we were expecting the other guy to stay in. We picked our first three guys. That's probably not gonna change it a lot, but it does maybe influence a little bit later."

Video: BOS Recap: Charlie Coyle scores lone goal for Bruins

Wait, There's More

Coyle missed the second half of the second period after getting cut by Swayman's skate blade and requiring stitches. "Nothing too crazy," said Coyle.

The centerman opened the scoring early in the first period when he followed a Smith rebound and whacked the second chance off, and over, the glove of Shesterkin for his 11th of the season.

"Their record speaks for itself," Coyle said of the Rangers. "They're up there in the standings and they're a great team playing at home. It's always tough to come in here and play like that. We wanted to jump on them early. We get the lead right away.

"Yeah, they have their pushes and all that, but Sways plays great…in the end you want two points. You're never satisfied until you get the two points. Sways deserved more than that."

Video: BOS@NYR: Odd-man rush leads to Coyle goal

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