Boston Bruins backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg played well in a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, and he followed it with an even better performance in Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
The 25-year-old Swede made 32 saves (16 in the first period) to earn the first shutout of his NHL career, helping the Bruins finish their first road trip of three or more games with a 2-1-0 record (3-4-0 overall through seven games).
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Even though the Sabres arguably are the NHL’s worst team, Svedberg still had to stop over 30 shots and play a key role on the penalty kill. Boston was short-handed a season-high seven times Saturday night, but the penalty kill went 7-for-7, thanks in part to some clutch saves made by Svedberg.
The Bruins cannot afford to play starting goaltender and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask in too many regular-season games because they will need him to be fresh for the playoffs. This means that Svedberg should play around 20 games in his first season as a backup at the NHL level. So far, Svedberg has impressed with a .969 save percentage and a 0.91 goals against average.
Sure, the sample size is only two games, but it’s obvious Svedberg has the talent and poise in net to help the Bruins pick up important points in the standings when Rask needs a rest. With a tremendous blue line in front of him, the rookie netminder won’t have to face a ton of shots each start.
— Dougie Hamilton was one of Boston’s best players Saturday night. He scored his first goal of the season in the first period and assisted on Zdeno Chara’s first-period tally. Hamilton also blocked three shots in a team-high 25:21 of ice time.
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— Bruins center Patrice Bergeron assisted on Hamilton’s goal, giving him 499 career points.
— The Bruins were short-handed seven times and successfully killed each penalty. They now rank 20th with a 79.3 percent (23-for-29) success rate on the penalty kill.
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— Third-line center Carl Soderberg continued to provide offense with his second goal of the season. He now has goals in back-to-back games and is tied with linemate Chris Kelly for the team lead in scoring (five points).
— Kevan Miller fought Sabres forward Nicolas Deslauriers in the first period and immediately left the game. He was ruled out during the first intermission, and B’s head coach Claude Julien revealed that the B’s defenseman suffered an upper body injury.
— Bruins first-round pick David Pastrnak had a 3-point performance for the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Saturday.
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— Boston defensemen combined for four points (three goals, one assist) against the Sabres. They tallied just three points (one goal, two assists) in the first six games of the season.
— The Bruins’ first line had its best game of the season despite not scoring a goal. David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Simon Gagne combined for an even-strength shot differential of plus-29.
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— Boston’s next game is Tuesday, Oct. 21 against the San Jose Sharks. It’s San Jose’s only trip to TD Garden this season.
Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images