Going back to last season, no one expected Linus Ullmark to be leading the league in wins (33), save percentage (.938) and goals against average (1.89).
However, when you look at the historic season the Boston Bruins have had thus far, it’s only fitting for the netminder to be dominating in his second season with the Black and Gold.
With less than 20 games left in the regular season, the Bruins have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are poised to win the Presidents’ Trophy with Ullmark being one of the biggest reasons the team has been so successful.
Ullmark has done it all. He’s not only stopped over 1,100 shots he’s faced this season, but he’s also pitched two shutouts and he even scored a goal, the first goalie goal in Bruins’ history.
So, how can Ullmark help his teammates end the season ready to chase the Stanley Cup?
Starts in Net
The Bruins have a tough schedule to end the regular season with four sets of back-to-back games, but resting Ullmark could end up hurting the 29-year-old goalie more than helping him.
Unfortunately, the Bruins this season have had a tough time finding their legs when they have any amount of time off from game play. Would the time off hinder Ullmark as well? Would it take him out of game rhythm?
Jeremy Swayman is not having a bad season between the pipes by any means, but Ullmark should be the goalie the Bruins ride through the postseason, so why not give him the bulk of the starts to end the season?
Stealing a Game or Two
While the Bruins sometimes have a hard time finding their legs and playing a full 60 minutes, Ullmark has come up big to keep the team in the contest.
A perfect example would be the 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on March 11.
Boston found themselves down 2-0 after Detroit peppered Ullmark with 15 shots in the first period of the game.
After giving up the early lead, Ulmark made stop after stop to keep Boston in the contest. Ullmark made 29 saves in the game and allowed the Bruins time for the comeback victory.
Before the end of the game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night, the Bruins held an 11-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes, who just lost a key player to injury, in the Eastern Conference.
Boston and Carolina meet for the final time this season on March 26 at PNC Arena. The two teams have split the season series with Carolina besting the Bruins 4-1 on Jan. 29.