As the calendar turns into November and the Boston Bruins head out on a three-game road trip to start the month, is Linus Ullmark their No.1 goalie?
Through one month in this 2022-23 NHL regular season, Ullmark has been one of the best goalies in the NHL. H’e 6-0-0 with the fifth-best GAA in the NHL (1.70), and fourth-best save percentage (.945%). While the depth in the forward group has the Boston Bruins headed into November as the NHL’s highest-scoring team with 39 goals, Linus Ullmark is a major reason that the Bruins are in a three-way tie with the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars for allowing the second-least goals at 21. Per 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Ty Anderson, this the best start for a Bruins goaltender since Tim Thomas started 2010 with the same record and a .984 save percentage.
“It’s unreal how comfortable I am standing behind the bench,” Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters after Ullmark made 30 saves in his first shutout of the season and a 4-0 Bruins win. “We’re giving up odd-man rushes, there’s guys open on the back door and you’re not even worried because you just expect our goalies to make saves. It’s a very comforting feeling as a coach behind the bench.”
The Bruins came into this season with the plan of what would basically be a goalie rotation and 1A-1B setup between Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. However, with Ullmark’s hot start and Swayman coming out slowly out of the gate (2-1-0, 3.76 GAA, .872), Montgomery has started Ullmark in four of the last five games.
“You need to ride the hot horse right?” an NHL goalie coach rhetorically asked Boston Hockey Now on Monday. “There’s no doubting that’s Ullmark right now and I can tell you Monty isn’t the only one feeling – and I wouldn’t use the word comfortable..LOL. ….more like confident – in Ullmark, then you need to keep him in there unless it’s a back-to-back until he at least loses a game.”
The Boston Bruins continually preached a goalie split heading into this season but has Ullmark’s play made them change course?