(Photo Credit: Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports)

By: Max Weisman | Follow me on Twitter: @maweisman

On January 4th, 2024, Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman allowed six goals in a 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since then, he’s made six starts and came in to relieve Linus Ullmark when he exited with a lower-body injury during the overtime period against the Arizona Coyotes. During Ullmark’s time out of the lineup, Swayman made four consecutive starts, going 3-0-1, and is 5-0-2 as a starter in general since the loss to Pittsburgh. This includes five straight wins during which the Bruins beat Colorado and Winnipeg, two teams tied together for first place in the Central Division.

Against the New Jersey Devils on January 15th, Swayman secured his 12th career shutout in a 3-0 Bruins win. It was Swayman’s third shutout of the year, his first two coming against Chicago and San Jose. The regulation win ended a stretch of four games in a row for Boston that went to overtime, the Bruins’ second streak of four overtime games this season. In Thursday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators, the Bruins were outshot 37-23 but won 3-2 in overtime on the backs of a 35-save performance from Swayman. The Bruins lose to Ottawa without Swayman’s strong goaltending.

Now let’s look at the stats: In Swayman’s seven starts since January 4th, he’s faced 205 shots and allowed 13 goals, equating to a .937 save percentage and a 1.82 goals-against-average. Swayman is posting a .924 save percentage for the season and a 2.30 goals-against-average for the season as a whole.

This piece is not an argument that the Bruins should trade Linus Ullmark, whose contract expires after next season, before the NHL trade deadline on March 8th. The Bruins should do everything they can to keep Ullmark and Swayman on the team for as long as possible, including signing them to extensions. According to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, a potential extension for Swayman could be coming soon. Ullmark and Swayman are the best goalie tandem in the league, and goaltending will remain a strength for Boston as long as they both wear the spoked B.

This piece is, though, an argument that Swayman’s play this season has earned him the number one goalie spot for the Bruins, or at the very least, his play should make coach Jim Montgomery think it over. The number one spot should carry through the playoffs as well. Swayman has shown that he can make consecutive starts, which he must do in the playoffs. This season, he has been outplaying Ullmark, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, and the Bruins have a better record when Swayman gets the start. Both Swayman’s and Ullmark’s stats and records are very similar.

The Bruins have 34 games remaining on their schedule, and it doesn’t get any easier, so whoever gets the playoff starts will have earned and deserved it. Right now, though, Swayman should get the nod should he keep up his hot streak. Ullmark is expected to get the start in the Bruins’ next game against Philadelphia, their last before the All-Star break, so it is unclear when Swayman’s next start will be.