Cassidy Noncommittal About Game 2 Goalie For Boston Bruins
While absolutely not throwing Boston Bruins Game 1 starter Linus Ullmark under the bus for Boston’s 5-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, head coach Bruce Cassidy was noncommittal about which B’s goalie is going to man the pipes for Game 2 on Wednesday night.
“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,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, who said the Boston Bruins would make a decision on the Game 2 starting goalie on Tuesday. “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 fans should probably get used to it as Cassidy said last week the B’s would probably be “coy” about their starting goalies in the playoffs, since there’s no upside to them announcing whether it’s Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman. But there’s also giving Ullmark a vote of confidence after he let up four goals on 24 shots in his playoff debut, including a Vinny Trocheck shot that bounced in off the back of his helmet for Carolina’s fourth goal of the game.
.@V_Trocheck from behind the goal line 🙌 pic.twitter.com/1lQHOIH3b9
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) May 3, 2022
But Cassidy was quick to point out that he didn’t think Ullmark was to blame in a loss where the Boston Bruins defense wasn’t particularly effective at clearing the front of the net for him. Carolina’s first goal was a tipped point shot with two Hurricanes players screening Ullmark, and the second was a long distance shot through three bodies directly in front of the Boston net.
“We made a few mistakes and they played to their strengths. [They] got the puck going to the net, were willing to hang around the net and then got a tip and got a screen. These weren’t high-end plays or tic-tac-toe plays. They were at the end once they got the lead, but some of it was on us to manage the puck better when we had it in the offensive zone.”
It’s something the Boston Bruins admitted they weren’t doing enough of the same exact thing in the offensive zone while essentially losing the trench battles at both ends of the ice.
“Playoff hockey is about hanging around the net and finding ways to score. Honestly, just kind of like they did with a tip on the first goal and bodies in front on the second goal,” said Taylor Hall, who scored Boston’s only goal in defeat. “Our goalie can’t see it. For us we always seem to outshoot teams, but what gets away from us is getting bodies to the net and making use of all those shots to create second chances.”
Ullmark said he wasn’t really nervous or overly emotional in his first playoff start, and he actually did play well until the Hurricanes began rotating big bodies in and around the net in a second period adjustment the Bruins didn’t react enough to in the moment.
“It’s going to come down to some lucky bounces here and there, and that’s just hockey,” said Ullmark, who was 5-1-0 with a .950 save percentage in the month of April headed into the postseason. “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.”
The bottom line for the Bruins, however, was that Raanta was better than Ullmark making 34 saves for the Hurricanes while pushing into duty with starter Freddie Andersen injured, and the entire team, including the goalie, will need to be better for the Boston Bruins in Game 2 if they want to bounce back with a needed victory.