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  • Linus Ullmark carries streaking Bruins to another thrilling victory

    James Garrison March 1, 2023

    Linus Ullmark did his best.

    If it was possible, the Vezina favorite one-upped himself.

    After providing an all-time memory in a year of magical moments on Saturday, Ullmark held the Bruins’ lead until the midpoint of the third period and carried them into overtime against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Playing its fourth game in six nights, Boston looked like a group at the tail end of a road trip.

    Anything less from Ullmark and the Bruins wouldn’t have collected an unfathomable two points.

    “If people didn’t know how good [Ullmark] was, watch this tape and they’ll know why he’s having such a fantastic year,” Boston head coach Jim Montgomery said to NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley.

    Goaltending was about as lopsided as it could be in the first period. The Bruins were outshot 19-5 yet carried a 2-0 lead thanks to Dmitry Orlov. Boston’s recent defensive acquisition delivered two snipes in the opening frame: one off the rush and one off an offensive zone faceoff.

    For the next period and a half, the Bruins bent, then broke. Calgary’s two goals in a 1:17 span during the third put Boston in catchup mode for the first time.

    The Bruins faced their regulation loss after leading through two periods following Jonathan Huberdau’s go-ahead marker. Somehow, the fatigued Bruins somehow found a way to even things up, as Pavel Zacha collected another clutch tally off a slick feed from (guess who?) Orlov at 14:07 of the final stanza.

    The resilient Bruins didn’t settle for just one point. With just 4.3 seconds to go in overtime, Charlie McAvoy finished off the Flames to secure yet another perfect road trip for the Black and Gold.

    “That was such a relief,” Ullmark said to NESN’s Sophia Jurkstowicz following Boston’s 4-3 win. “They get two goals and they’re up one against us, but we stuck with it. And then [Orlov] makes a terrific pass back door there…the rest is history.”

    Here’s what we learned as Ullmark led the Bruins to one of the most improbable victories of the season.  

    Linus Ullmark, as only he can do

    The Bruins struggled to generate any offense. Luckily, they had Ullmark between the pipes a few days after notching his first career goal in Vancouver.

    Montgomery’s squad had very little energy from the jump. It only got worse as the minutes piled up and the legs became heavier.

    There’s honestly not much more that hasn’t been said about Ullmark’s stellar season. Yet almost every night, he provides something new.

    Indeed, Ullmark delivered something new, and then some, notching a career and franchise high 54 saves.

    “What should I say,” Ullmark said to NESN. “You never really want to get up to 60 shots in a game, but, you know what, I’ll take it. Get two points, gonna head home with a four-game road trip win streak. Love it.”

    The Vezina favorite was the “bend” in the Bruins’ “bend but didn’t break” effort. His highlight of highlights came when he robbed former Bruin Milan Lucic not once, but twice, during a second-period sequence.

    “It also comes down to, if you have a lot of shots, they have a lot of scoring chances,” Ullmark added. “It could go either way. Today, it went the right way. You know what, you’ve just gotta take it.”

    Orlov explodes offensively

    Without much time to acclimate himself to his new team, Orlov made his Bruins debut on Saturday after arriving with Garnet Hathaway in Vancouver the night before. Three days later, Don Sweeney’s recent acquisition has five points to his name in a Black and Gold sweater.

    Orlov notched his first two goals with his new team, and crucial ones at that, as the Bruins held their early lead into the third period.

    In need of an offensive spark facing a 3-2 deficit, the Bruins turned to Orlov again. The former Washington Capital delivered again, with a clutch third-period assist on Zacha’s equalizer.

    In three games, the veteran left-handed defenseman entered into the defensive rotation on three different pairings, playing on both the right and left sides. Paired with Hampus Lindholm Tuesday night, the Bruins utilized Orlov in numerous situations. Orlov logged 22:27 of ice time, including 2:19 on the power play and a single shift on the penalty kill.

    With the seven-man rotation still in its experimental phase, the best six-man unit has yet to reveal itself. Their defensive outlook should include Orlov in any role going forward.

    The Bruins won in various ways during latest road trip

    Simply put, the Bruins had no business leaving Calgary with one point. Whether it’s a 54-save performance from Ullmark or timely goals from just about anybody within their deep forward core, the wins keep happening.

    “There’s an incredible belief on our bench that we’re always going to find a way. There’s no panic,” Montgomery said. “We knew we were being drastically outplayed, and our goaltender gave us an opportunity.”

    From a wild back-and-forth tilt in Seattle to Tuesday’s improbable win in Calgary, Boston’s aforementioned depth – having emerged at each position – provided various means to victory.

    “We won games differently,” Montgomery said. “A high-scoring game, a low-scoring game, a great back-and-forth game in Edmonton, and then this one…we were hanging on with our alligator blood and found a way in the end.”

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