Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman blocks a shot by Montreal’s Alex Newhook during the second period Saturday night in Boston. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

BOSTON — As Jeremy Swayman watched the members of the 1970 and 1972 Boston Bruins pull the rope to re-raise their banners to TD Garden rafters as part of the ceremony honoring players from that era on Saturday, he felt honored.

And inspired.

And more than a little motivated.

“I was thinking how honored I am to wear the same jersey as those guys,” said the former University of Maine standout. “It’s a huge motivator for myself and I’m sure all my teammates. It means the world to be able to wear the same crest as them. Knowing that they created such an incredible history that paved the way for hockey in general and what it means to be a Boston Bruin.”

That’s the sort of greatness Swayman aspired to. He wants to be the type of player people remember 50 years after his playing career is over. He wants to pull banners he helped earn into the rafters.

“I’ve wanted to be that since I could walk. That’s a motivator I’ve always had,” said Swayman, who met and talked to Gerry Cheevers and Eddie Johnston, the goalies on the 1970 and 1972 teams this week. “To etch history and to be at the level to do that now, I’m excited. It’s a huge motivator for myself. I would love to be in their shoes someday doing the same thing.”


Swayman channeled that motivation into focus. These same Canadiens had beaten him in overtime a week ago, creating the only blemish on his resumé this season. He never let them get close on Saturday night in Boston’s 5-2 victory.

Swayman made two terrific saves on an early Canadiens power player in the opening minutes. He turned back Cole Caulfield on a one-timer and then stoned Josh Anderson’s clear wrist shot attempt from inside the right-wing faceoff dot.

“That’s huge,” Brad Marchand said. “We’ve relied on them, a lot, a little bit too much. When you have a goalie that makes saves like that, it allows you to take a breath and calm down and get back to playing your game. It allows you to know if you make a mistake, it’s not always going to end up in the back of your net.”

Very little has ended up in the back of the Bruins net this season. While 2023 Vezina winner Linus Ullmark has been excellent, Swayman has been even better so far. It was another strong night in a season of strong nights for the 24-year-old Alaskan, whose 1.73 goals against average and .941 save percentage lead the NHL. He’s yet to lose in regulation this year at 7-0-1.

For the goalies he admired during the pregame, Swayman put on a show. He made every save when the game was close before the Canadiens beat him twice when the game was out of reach. Still, he wanted those too.

“All saves are big saves, but I want to take every shot like it’s the last shot possible,” he said. “I want to make big saves, small saves and all the ones in between.”


COMPLETE EFFORT: A week ago, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery was so dismayed by his team’s play on an overtime road loss to the Montreal Canadiens that he directed a punishing bag skate in practice the following day in an attempt to shake them from their lethargy.

Message received.

Hosting the Canadiens Saturday night at TD Garden, the Bruins thoroughly outplayed their longtime rivals, outshooting them by exactly a two-to-one margin and outclassing them on the scoreboard, 5-2.

The turnaround was dramatic enough that when a reporter suggested the game had been the Bruins’ most complete effort to date, Montgomery offered no pushback.

“Absolutely, and for 60 minutes, too,” said Montgomery. “I thought we played the right way for 60 minutes, the way we want to play.”

In particular, Montgomery cited his team’s ability to shut down the Canadiens’ rush, which had been a failure last weekend at the Bell Centre.


“Our rush defense was good, really good,” he said. “And we saw what we wanted offensively, too. We hadn’t played in a while (since Monday) and sometimes when you haven’t played in a while, you’re not back in the rhythm of playing fast and moving pucks quickly north and I thought we did a really good job of that in the first period in the first period and it carried over.”

Indeed, the Bruins struck twice in the first period, and never allowed Montreal to recover, smothering them at both ends and limiting quality scoring chances against goalie Jeremy Swayman, who stopped 20-of-22 shots.

Brad Marchand, who added an assist on the final Boston goal of the night, was told of his coach’s praise and quickly agreed that the club’s play was top-notch.

“For sure,” said Marchand. “What I really liked about tonight was that the things that we worked on this week in practice, we went out and executed. Some of the things that we let slip the last time we played Montreal, we were better at. It just shows that we’re growing as group.

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