Friday’s finish between the Bruins and Coyotes came with yet another Linus Ullmark Tightrope Show. But the big difference in this one, of course, was that Ullmark bent but did not break in a 30-of-31 performance for a 2-1 win over the Coyotes.
“He certainly played well enough. It was a lot of work, heavy shot load the other night in Colorado, have to check to see how he is tomorrow but his game was excellent tonight,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy offered. “You know, finding pucks, tracking pucks with a lot of traffic, recovering, playing inside the posts. I thought he did a really good job.”
“It’s a lot more fun winning games on a daily basis,” Ullmark, who improved to 15-5-1 with the win, said.F”eeling like I have the opportunity to win every night. There’s no games where you feel out of it. The guys are going to go out there and play their utmost overall 60 minutes. It’s a great group of guys. My family and I love it in Boston.”
Ullmark even dealt with a bloody nose — Ullmark admitted that he had no idea how it happened — and was forced to finish the game with some cotton stuffed up his nose and with blood splattered on his sweater.
Boston’s scoring in the winning effort opened up with an Erik Haula created off a sweet dish from the Bruins’ David Pastrnak for his fifth goal of the season (and fourth of January), and continued with a second-period power-play strike from Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy’s goal, which came with assists from Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, was his seventh of the season.
The Bruins went through some serious goaltending shuffling before Friday’s game, too, with Tuukka Rask scratched from his scheduled start with a lower-body injury, Jeremy Swayman scratched from his start for the P-Bruins for the purpose of trying to beat the oncoming blizzard and meet the Bruins out in Dallas, and Troy Grosenick promoted up from the taxi squad.
In front of the crease, Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk made his return to the Boston lineup, and finished with one shot and two blocks in 18:04 of time on ice. With Grzelcyk back in action, the Bruins kept Urho Vaakanainen in action and moved him to his off side, while Connor Clifton sat as the healthy scratch for the B’s blue line.
With the win, the Bruins extended their win streak over the Coyotes to a staggering 17 games. Their last loss to the Coyotes didn’t come on American soil, in fact, as Boston’s last loss to the Desert Dogs dates all the way back to their season-opening head-to-head in Prague during the 2010-11 season.
The Bruins will conclude this three-game road trip Sunday night in Dallas.