Anytime you hit the ice for your first National Hockey League it’s a memorable moment, but when you’re able to pick up a win in your first NHL game, it’s even more memorable. That was the case Thursday night for rookie goalie Niklas Svedberg. Behind Svedberg’s 33 saves the Bruins ended their two-game losing streak by beating the Nashville Predators 3-2 in overtime.
Svedberg was called up last weekend and was slated to make his NHL debut in Ottawa last Saturday, but Dennis Seidenberg’s season ending injury changed those plans and forced the Bruins to—once again—juggle their roster around and send Svedberg back to Providence.
With Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg back in the lineup Thursday, the Bruins were able to make some roster moves, again, and as a result were able to bring Svedberg back up and finally give him his first career start.
“Yeah of course, that’s why I came over to play in this league” said Svedberg who spent five seasons in the Swedish Elite League before coming to North America last season.
“As I said it’s been a dream and a goal all my life, but at the same time it’s only one game so I have to keep working hard to get more games. It’s obviously nice to get the first game.”
Svedberg wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough to earn the win. Svedberg came up with some big saves to keep the Bruins in the game which was good to see. The only knock on Svedberg was his rebound control. Both goals scored by the Predators came off of big rebounds.
Even with the big rebounds and the nerves of his first NHL game, Svedberg was very calm between the pipes for the Black and Gold.
“It was alright, it was pretty calm. There were some rebounds in the first period and stuff like that but I got going pretty good with some shots from the outside early on so it was good. I felt pretty comfortable” added Svedberg.
Svedberg’s teammates were happy with how calm Svedberg was, and were even more happy that they were able to help the 24-year old Svedberg get the win.
“Oh he played really well. He gave us a chance to win” said Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk who ripped home his second goal of the season against the Predators.
“I mean for his first game he looked pretty comfortable and he played extremely well and I’m just happy to see him get that first win under his belt.”
Milan Lucic had much of the same to say about Svedberg.
“Yeah he played great, real good. Obviously it’s a little nerves playing your first NHL game but you can see that he made some big saves for us and he was pretty confident in net there” said Lucic. “We talked about it, we wanted to play hard for him and try to get him a big win in his first NHL game.”
After allowing eight goals on his last 43 shots, the Bruins needed to give Tuukka Rask some rest. Season long backup Chad Johnson has been solid backing up Rask, but the Bruins needed to see what they have in Svedberg at the NHL level. Head coach Claude Julien was pleased with what he got from his rookie goalie.
“Yeah I mean, we’re comfortable. I didn’t see him being much different from the first until the third, but I thought in the second when they did throw a lot of pucks at him he stood tall and made some good saves. I liked his game tonight, he was good and he just showed us that he’s a guy we need to look at and keep an eye on” said Julien.
Julien and company will have to keep an eye on Svedberg in Providence as Svedberg was sent back down to the American Hockey League shortly after the victory. Despite the quick send down, Julien had no issue with leaving the door open on a quick return to Boston for Svedberg.
“He’s going to head back to Providence tomorrow, but there’s a good chance you’re going to see him here again very soon.”