ELMONT, NY – There’s little doubt it’s been a breakout season for 29-year-old Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark.
He’s in the prime of his NHL puck-stopping career and he’s comfortable being a Boston Bruins in his second year with the organization, and there’s little doubt he’s playing behind the best hockey team of his pro career. But there’s more to it than that when it comes to the reasons behind him keeping his play at an elite level all year as he leads the league in wins (24), goals against average (1.89) and save percentage (.937)as the heavy favorite for the Vezina Trophy.
That leaves him just two wins shy of the career-high 26 victories that he lodged for the Black and Gold last season with roughly three months left to play.
Ullmark was on his game again on Wednesday night when he stopped 26-of-27 shots in a 4-1 Boston Bruins win over the Islanders at the USB Arena, and even showed off a spin move while handling the puck.
Linus Ullmark, with the spin move, there is nothing this man can't do.
— Jamie Gatlin (@JamieGatlin17) January 19, 2023
Then the B’s star netminder admitted afterward that he’s needed help from his teammates at not getting caught up in everything that’s happening for him in his first All-Star season.
“It has been overwhelming. I’m not going to lie. It’s been a different kind of season, definitely,” said Ullmark after notching his 100th career win against the Islanders. “It’s taken a lot of me mentally to keep it going and not be kind of satisfied. It’s hard. When you have the luxury to be at this point midway through the season, this is usually where you’re at in the end of the season.
“I have a lot of gratitude to the boys that come to work every single night, so kudos to them.”
What has kept Ullmark from getting to a place of being too satisfied or complacent with the season he’s enjoying?
“We have a lot of guys on this team that have been around this league a long time and they know that you can’t get satisfied,” said Ullmark. “There are such small details that can make something crumble. [Brad Marchand] is one of those guys and he’s always honest with me if he feels like I’m taking a day off. He’s right there up my [expletive] and tells me to get going.”
Whatever works for Ullmark, it needs to keep going for the Boston Bruins as his rise to a dominant No. 1 goaltender at the NHL level has been one of the big back stories behind the B’s rise to the NHL’s best team this year.