According to ESPN and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark was playing with a ‘debilitating and painful injury’ in the first six games of his team’s seven-game series loss to the Florida Panthers.
After a record-breaking regular season that saw the 29-year-old netminder go 40-6-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .938 save percentage and become the first Boston Bruins goalie to win 40 games since Pete Peters did in the 1982-83 regular season, Ullmark went 3-1 in the first four games of the series. Then the roof fell in and Ullmark – who clearly was battling something, whether physical or mental or both – was finally pulled from the series after allowing six goals on 32 shots. Ullmark finished the series at 3-3 with a 3.33 GAA and .896 save percentage.
@NHLBruins . Like all teams ; players grit it out to play through major injuries in the Playoffs. My sources tell me soon to be Vezina G Ullmark was playing through a debilitating & painful injury that limited his mobility and technique. @espn @NHL @NHLNetwork #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) May 1, 2023
There has been no confirmation of when Linus Ullmark suffered this injury but he did leave midway through the third period of a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals in the regular season finale for the Boston Bruins on April 11. At the time, the team announced that he left simply for precautionary reasons and has repeatedly said he was healthy since.
After the Boston Bruins lost 4-3 in overtime to the Florida Panthers in Game 7 on Sunday night, Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was asked about switching to Jeremy Swayman for Game 7 and the timing of the switch. Instead of giving an explanation for the decision, he deferred to longtime Boston Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa.
“We just thought he was going to give us the best chance tonight. You’d have to ask ‘Goalie Bob’ a little more in detail about that, but we all thought that he was going to give us the best opportunity tonight,” a clearly rattled Montgomery replied.
That might be difficult for any reporter to so since the Boston Bruins hardly ever allow Bob Essensa to speak to the media so it’s highly unlikely he will be made available when the Bruins meet the media on Tuesday for the final time this season. Maybe then Montgomery or general manager Don Sweeney, and even team President Cam Neely will delve into the goaltending decisions more, but don’t hold your breath. Ullmark is also scheduled to hold court with the media on Tuesday but given his media interactions during the series, he will likely just acknowledge the injury and that’s it.