Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 14: Linus Ullmark #35 of the Boston Bruins tends net against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at TD Garden on January 14, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

It’s been one hell of a year for Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark.

In addition to a year that’s sending him to his first All-Star Game, a start that’s set him up to challenge Tim Thomas’ single-season save percentage record, and make a run at becoming the first goalie to win the ‘Triple Crown’ of goaltending (wins, save percentage, and goals against average), Ullmark has now set an NHL record.

In net for a 17-of-17 victory over the Sharks on Sunday night, Ullmark became the fastest goalie to reach 25 wins in NHL history, accomplishing the feat in just 28 decisions by way of his 25-2-1 record out of the gate.

  • Ullmark’s record comes with the current B’s goalie bumping a previous Boston netminder off the record books, as Ullmark’s 28-decision run to 25 wins surpassed the previous record of 29 games, which was set by former Bruins goalie Tiny Thompson during the 1929-30 season. 

    Just casual things, I suppose.

    By now, I’ve run out of ways to describe Ullmark’s year. It’s been insane. It’s been ridiculous. It’s been lightyears better than anything Don Sweeney and the Bruins could have hoped for when they signed Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract as (some correctly-forecasted insurance for Tuukka Rask amid his hip issues.

    Ullmark has been fantastic even in his losses, really, with no more than two goals surrendered in any of three losses, and with just six goals allowed on 88 shots faced (a .932 save percentage) in his three losses. His last loss, in case you’re curious, came with the Bruins shut out by Martin Jones and the Kraken.

  • In what’s been a season for the ages, Ullmark also leads the NHL in goals saved above average (28.29), and has a more six-goal edge over second-place Jake Oettinger. Ullmark has also posted a high-danger save percentage of .870, which is tops among goalies with at least 1,500 minutes played this season.

    Ullmark has also posted a 0.97 goals saved above average per 60, which is tops in the NHL, and is .10 higher than Igor Shesterkin’s 0.87 goals saved about average per 60 last season en route to the 2022 Vezina Trophy. (And in you’re curious, Natural Stat Trick had 2010-11 Tim Thomas at 0.81 goals saved above average per 60.)

    Just insane.

  • Jan 2, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) reaches for his water bottle during a media timeout during the first period of a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2023 Winter Classic ice hockey game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 2, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) reaches for his water bottle during a timeout against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park. (Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Now whether or not Ullmark can keep this up for the rest of the regular season and a four-round run to the Stanley Cup is the question that will hang over the Bruins down the stretch.

    But the good news is that the B’s are no longer in a position where they would have to ‘ride’ Ullmark into the ground, as Jeremy Swayman has surged with six wins and a .941 save percentage in his last eight starts.

    It could be enough to challenge another NHL record, in fact, as the Bruins have surrendered just 93 goals through 46 games this season. It would take an awful lot (that’s rarely stopped the Bruins this season, we’ve learned), but if the Bruins surrender just 61 goals over their next 36 games, they would beat the 2011-12 St. Louis Blues’ record of 155 goals allowed for the fewest goals allowed in an 82-game NHL season.

    At the very least, the 2022-23 version of Ullmark and Swayman (and with a cameo from Keith Kinkaid) could and should challenge the franchise record for fewest goals allowed in an 82-game season, with the 2013-14 Bruins allowing just 171 goals during their Presidents’ Trophy campaign.

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