RALEIGH – There will be no change between the pipes for the Boston Bruins in Game 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday night. Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed after a lengthy practice Tuesday at PNC Arena that he’s sticking with Linus Ullmark as the Bruins try to even this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series at one game apiece.
“Linus is going back in,” Cassidy told reporters. “He had a great run here coming into the playoffs, so we’re not going to judge him on one game, (his) first playoff game. There’s a bunch of different things that go into that, but at the end of the day he’s going back in, and hopefully he’s the better goaltender. That’s how it works this time of year, right? That’s part of the game and he’ll get his chance.”
While he allowed five Hurricanes goals on 24 shots, Linus Ullmark wasn’t really the culprit in the Bruins’ series-opening loss Monday. The Boston Bruins did a horrendous job of trying to clear the sight lanes for their goalie in his first-ever playoff game and didn’t help much on beating the Hurricanes to rebounds. Still though, Cassidy did leave the door open after the game for Swayman to replace Ullmark in Game 2.
“You need the saves at the end when you’re not scoring. Let’s call it what it is. The 2-on-1 was a great play by them. You don’t want to be in that position,” Cassidy said late Monday night. “That last goal? [Ullmark] is going to tell you it’s not a good goal to give up, but by then it’s 4-1. We’re not going to put anything on Ullmark. Whichever goalie is in there you’re going to have to fight to see pucks in this series.
It was the same at the other end early on where [Antti] Raanta was fighting to see pucks and rebounds, but we weren’t able to capitalize. We’ll have to do a better job in the lanes and Linus will have to work harder to find it as well. They have some big bodies that camp out front and that’s going to be the challenge for any goalie.”
Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman won the NHL Rookie Of The Month for February and continued to roll through March, but struggled down the stretch. As Swayman faltered, Ullmark excelled in the month of April and earned the nod to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Bruins. He was 5-1-0 with a .950 save percentage in the month of April. The first-year Bruin didn’t seem too downtrodden or frazzled after losing his first ever playoff start.
“It’s going to come down to some lucky bounces here and there, and that’s just hockey,” said Ullmark who finished the regular season 26-10-2 with a 2.45 GAA and .917 save percentage. “It was a little bit louder [in the playoffs]. We’re playing for something meaningful, so that’s to be expected. I’m just focused on the next one. I’ll probably look at [the video] tonight, learn from it and then move on. It’s all about stopping pucks and stopping one more puck than [the opposing goalie] in order to win the game.”