The Bruins will get their first look at their $20 million investment on Friday night.
After serving as Jeremy Swayman’s backup for the first two games of the season, Linus Ullmark will get the call when the Bruins take the ice against Ullmark’s former team, the Sabres, at Buffalo’s Keybank Center.
“I think he’s progressively gotten better, so we’ll see,” B’s coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He hasn’t played a game yet. Ironic it’s [against] Buffalo, but we’ll see how his game has come around since his last preseason game.”
The 28-year-old Ullmark is coming off a Boston preseason showing that featured an .839 save percentage (10 goals allowed on 62 shots faced), and with both Ullmark and the Bruins putting a focus on upping Ullmark’s reps.
After all, it would’ve been downright insane to make a complete determination on Ullmark’s abilities after just three preseason games. (The ‘Perfection’ Line would’ve never been assembled a few years ago and we would’ve inducted Anders Bjork into the Hockey Hall of Fame already had we believed that all final decisions should be based on preseason results.)
“Hopefully the practice has tightened up his game and he’ll be good for go,” said Cassidy.
“It’s getting better every day,” Ullmark said of his immersion to life with the Bruins. “It’s a work in progress. I’m one of the new guys for once. They’re taking good care of me [with] a lot of conversations on and off the ice that make it more and more automatic instead of thinking about what I should have to do out there.”
Having to do that in Buffalo, where Ullmark spent the first six years of his NHL career, could be easier on the Swede. As noted by Cassidy, nobody knows Buffalo shooters better than Ullmark. The flip side of that, of course, is that no group of shooters out there know Ullmark better than Buffalo’s shooters.
And while Friday will come with some understandable bittersweet moments for Ullmark, it’s all about starting his B’s career off with two points.
“If they start talking, I’ll keep talking to them,” Ullmark said of his head-to-head with his ex-teammates. “My goal [Friday] is to win, and it’s always been that.”
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.