Bruins’ Linus Ullmark has been in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy since before the turn of the calendar year and last week the NHL made it official by naming the Boston goalie one of the three finalists for the award.
Up against fellow netminders in New York Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin and Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck, Ullmark leads the pack in every stat — wins (40), save percentage (.938), goals-against average (1.89), goals allowed (91) — but that doesn’t mean he’ll bring home the hardware. He should but nothing in sports is guaranteed.
And while goals get fans to jump out of their seats and cheer, a stop can have just as much impact especially when it’s a “how did he stop that” type of save.
The 29-year-old Swede made some spectacular saves throughout the Bruins’ historic season and without further ado, here are our top five.
5. Shootout save on Anaheim Ducks’ Max Comtois – October 20
Ullmark stopped all four shots he faced in Boston’s shootout win, but this was a beauty. Comtois deked which caused Ullmark to go down to the splits, but he recovered to make the save with the glove.
4. Glove save on Detroit’s Alex Chiasson – March 11
The centering pass from one-time Bruin Austin Czarnik from behind the net to the Red Wing forward was point blank, but Ullmark flashed the leather to make the stop. The Bruins ended up with the win — their 50th of the season.
3. Head save on Sam Reinhart – April 23
Not a regular-season save, but this save was so spectacular we had to include it. The Florida Panthers had everything going in this play. They outskated and outhustled the Bruins leading to Ullmark having to make a diving save across the crease to prevent this puck from going in the back of the net. The Bruins skated away with the Game 4 win.
2. Three stops on New Jersey in the same sequence – April 8
Jack Hughes skated in alone for the Devils and Ullmark not only made the initial save but when Hughes collected his own rebound, Ullmark stopped the second attempt. Yegor Sharangovich collected the puck and delivered a third shot that Ullmark stopped. The win was No. 62 on the season for the Bruins.
1. Stickless save on Toronto’s Mark Giordano – January 14
It was a broken play. The Maple Leafs collected a turnover in the neutral zone and Zach Aston-Reese took the Connor Clifton hit as he passed to Giordano, who in return attempted to hit Pierre Engvall skating toward the net. Taylor Hall not only took out Ullmark as he slid across the ice, he knocked the puck back to Giordano who thought he had the wide-open net. Ullmark got back and stopped the puck with his arm. The Bruins beat the Leafs in a close one for their 20th home win.
Not a save, but we can’t forget the first goalie goal in Bruins history in the win against the Vancouver Canucks.