Bruins-Stars takeaways: Swayman answers the call in impressive win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins' 2021-22 campaign is off and running.
The Bruins defeated a talented Dallas Stars team 3-1 on Saturday night in their season opener at TD Garden.
Brad Marchand started the scoring by converting on a first-period penalty shot, then sealed Boston's victory with an empty-netter in the third.
Jake DeBrusk scored the eventual game-winner early in the third period off assists from newcomers Nick Foligno and Erik Haula, while rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman stopped 27 of 28 Dallas shots to earn the victory.
Luke Glendening scored the lone goal for the Stars, who fall to 1-1 on the season. Here are our takeaways from the Bruins' rousing opening-night win:
Swayman validates Bruce Cassidy's decision
Swayman may have been the better goaltender in training camp, but head coach Bruce Cassidy still went out on a limb to give the rookie the nod in net over veteran Linus Ullmark, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Bruins this offseason.
Cassidy clearly made the right decision. Swayman was rock-solid in net, showcasing poise beyond his 22 years while turning away all but one Stars shot to move to a perfect 5-0 at home in his young NHL career.
Ullmark should make his first start in the next few days, but Swayman is the Bruins' goaltender of the future. If the University of Maine product can string together more starts like Saturday's, the future could arrive sooner than later.
Tuukka Rask remains unsigned and recovering from an operation in July on his right hip. An unrestricted free agent who has played all 14 of his NHL seasons with Boston, Rask has said he'd like to re-sign with the Bruins and hopes to be healthy enough to play around the holidays.
Penalty kill steps up
The Bruins had the second-best penalty kill in hockey last season, and they picked up right where they left off Saturday.
Boston held Dallas scoreless on six power play attempts, the last of which came late in the third period with a chance for the Stars to even the score.
Newly-acquired defenseman Derek Forbort played a role in that success, logging over five minutes on the Bruins' penalty kill. Swayman also made 11 of his 27 saves on the Stars' man-advantage.
The Bruins need to more disciplined going forward, but their elite penalty kill rose to the occasion again Saturday.
Newcomers give third line a jolt
Maybe DeBrusk just needed some new linemates.
After scoring just five goals in 41 games during an abysmal 2020-21 campaign, DeBrusk came out firing in Game 1:
Winger Nick Foligno and center Erik Haula both earned assists on the play, as Foligno's hard net drive freed up DeBrusk to pounce the rebound.
The Bruins were much too top-heavy in the scoring department last season. If DeBrusk and the new-look third line can give Boston decent production this year, that will go a long way toward this team's Stanley Cup aspirations.
The B's are back in action Wednesday in Philadelphia against the Flyers at 7:30 p.m. ET.