The Bruins allowed a median of 39 pictures on internet throughout their simply accomplished three-game western Canada street journey and anybody who has watched this crew over the past decade-plus will let you know that that isn’t precisely classic Bruins hockey.
But it’s wonderful what you possibly can accomplish when get some good goaltending.
Linus Ullmark — all of a sudden wanting worthy of the four-year, $20 million contract he signed in the summertime — made 40 saves and the B’s obtained some well timed targets to beat the Calgary Flames, 4-2, within the Saddledome on Saturday evening. The victory gave the B’s 5 of a attainable six factors on the street journey and put them right into a playoff spot for the primary time all season.
Assistant coach Joe Sacco, operating the bench for head coach Bruce Cassidy (COVID protocol), was rightfully happy with the crew’s competitiveness and clearly the outcomes of the journey, even whereas absolutely acknowledging the tactic to realize the factors was not perfect.
“We need to tighten that up,” mentioned Sacco of the pictures towards. “The Edmonton game, that was a tough one with the back-to-back and the travel and I thought we didn’t have the energy we needed until the third. Tonight I thought we’d be a little bit better to start the game. But for whatever reason, they had the majority of the play in the first two periods. But I thought we responded well.. But we need to tighten that up. That’s not the identity of our group. We’re certainly a team that thrives on being good defensively and limiting our chances and limiting our shots. We’ll get back home and get back to work on that part of our game.”
While they didn’t spend a ton of time within the Calgary zone, they obtained contributions all through the lineup. There had been two targets from the again finish (Connor Clifton and Charlie McAvoy), a primary line purpose (Brad Marchand) and a fourth line tally (Curtis Lazar) that got here within the third interval to dampen the Flames’ hopes of a comeback. Trent Frederic, beginning to look increasingly snug in his pure heart place, picked up a pair of helpers.
For as many pictures as they allowed on this journey, they didn’t quit a 5-on-5 purpose within the three video games till a Sean Monahan skate redirection with 1:36 left in what was primarily rubbish time.
But the story line of the journey was the goaltending. With the attainable return of Tuukka Rask hovering over the Ullmark-Jeremy Swayman tandem, each netminders have discovered their groove at an opportune time for each them and the B’s. Ullmark, who has now made 81 saves in his final two begins, is 4-1 in his final 5 begins with a .941 save share. Swayman in the meantime has bumped up his save share to .922 and introduced his targets towards common right down to 2.15.
There’s nothing like competitors to get the most effective out of gamers.
“First of all, it’s always fun to practice with Jeremy. He pushes me to become a better goaltender every day,” mentioned Ullmark. “He goes out there and plays his heart out. It doesn’t matter if it’s 7 o’clock in the morning or whatever it is or on a back-to-back. He always goes and tries his best. And that keeps me motivated and it keeps me on my toes and I know if I ever have a couple of rough starts, he’s going to pick up the torch and keep playing for us. He’s a terrific goaltender. Obviously there’s a lot of friendship going on there, but there’s a lot of pride. We always want to play every night. But whenever there’s an opportunity for the other guy to play, the other guy is always very supportive.”
The B’s suffered maybe their most discouraging lack of the season on the Garden on November 21 by the hands of the Flames, a 4-0 drubbing wherein high quality scoring possibilities had been laborious to seek out. The first interval on Saturday at occasions seemed like an extension of that recreation. The Flames held a 15-7 shot benefit, which aligned with their territorial edge. But the B’s managed to flee the primary 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead.
The fourth line of Anton Blidh, Frederic and Lazar had a few excessive power shifts within the first and it was that line’s breakout that led to the B’s first purpose. From the left wing within the impartial zone, Blidh hit Frederic with a cross and as soon as the centerman gained the blue line, Frederic dished it to a diving down Clifton. Seeming to catch goalie Jacob Markstrom abruptly, Clifton beat Markstrom with a excessive shortside shot at 2:17. It was good initiative by Clifton, and never a superb purpose allowed by Markstrom.
The Flames continued their assault early within the second interval and at one level had been outshooting the 22-7, thanks partially to considered one of their 5 power-plays.
But simply when it seemed just like the B’s had been about to get steamrolled, they scored twice in 56 seconds. First Marchand doubled the B’s lead at 5:52, tipping dwelling a David Pastrnak shot simply earlier than a line change.
Less than a minute later, they had been up 3-0. Patrice Bergeron gathered a free puck behind the Calgary internet and centered a cross that went by way of to Charlie McAvoy out excessive and, with room in entrance of him, skated in and snapped his fourth of the yr over Markstrom’s blocker. It was Bergeron’s 554th profession help, pushing him forward of Phil Esposito for fourth place on the Bruins’ all-time listing.
The Flames obtained one again earlier than the interval was over. Blidh obtained referred to as for slashing on a backcheck and, on the power-play, Matthew Tkachuk scored off a Rasmus Andersson shot at 12:19.
But earlier than the Flames may make their third interval push that everybody anticipated, Lazar obtained the B’s their three-goal lead again on a purpose powered by Frederic. Frederic took a shot that Markstrom stopped, then circled the web to gather the rebound and fired one other shot that produced a room-service rebound for Lazar on the prime of the crease to make it 4-1 at 2:57 of the third.
The Flames may by no means actually get well. And the B’s had themselves a really profitable street journey, warts and all.