Ullmark Challenges Tkachuk In Boston Bruins Game 4 Win
The big knock on Linus Ullmark prior to this edition of the Stanley Cup playoffs was that he didn’t have an impressive enough resume to lead a team with Cup aspirations like the Boston Bruins to the NHL mountaintop.
Well, Ullmark certainly showed he’s got what it takes in terms of physical and mental toughness along with performance between the pipes in a fighting, puck-stopping tour de force performance in a 6-2 Boston Bruins win over the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.
“As a goalie you’re just expected to stop pucks. You’re not expected to take stickwork and someone coming after you” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “We’ve stuck together all year and I’m proud of the way we stuck together there. They had six players on the ice because they had the pulled goalie situation.”
The 41-saves on the ice registered as the best playoff performance in his NHL career, but it was Ullmark’s willingness to chuck his glove and blocker, remove his goalie mask and fight Matthew Tkachuk that caught captured everybody’s imagination. Tkachuk had been taking some liberties with Ullmark at points in the physical, intense series, but they ramped up to a new level when Tkachuk’s crosscheck of Ullmark in the crease turned into mayhem on the ice.
Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort initially gang tackled Tkachuk before it turned into the modern-day hockey version of a line brawl, and Ullmark had to held back from charging Tkachuk when the Panthers forward took another run at him.
Pure chaos in Bruins-Panthers:
A line brawl breaks out and Linus Ullmark wants to fight Matthew Tkachuk. pic.twitter.com/Owoqimmgrh
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) April 23, 2023
It resulted in Ullmark exiting the game after getting hit with a ten-minute misconduct, but it was also all the B’s goalie’s teammates could talk about afterward while showing shades of Tim Thomas’ feistiness between the pipes.
“There’s gotta be something in the goalie’s water bottles this year. They all seem to want to be in the mix,” said Brad Marchand. “I just think think emotions run high this time of year and we’ve always had the mentality of sticking up for one another. It’s just another great example of that.”
Certainly, the other Boston Bruins players understood Ullmark finally challenging Tkachuk after the Panthers forward has been trying to goad B’s players into taking bad penalties throughout the series.
“At times you’ve got to show a little passion and pushback, and I think Linus did a really great job in that situation, for sure,” said Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. “It’s the same thing all year. It hasn’t changed from the regular season. His poise and his ability to make key saves [make him] the backbone of our team.”
Ullmark wasn’t made available to the media following Game 4 as the Bruins PR staff said that he was receiving treatment while battling through something physically during this first round series, but he very clearly let his actions do the talking against the Panthers in a massive win that gives Boston a stranglehold in the best-of-seven series.