Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark probably did not wake up Saturday morning figuring he would make history.
With a 2-1 lead and under a minute left in the game, the Vancouver Canucks pulled goalie Arturs Silovs, opening it up for Ullmark to shoot an incredible full-length goal. He was only the 13th goalie in the history of the NHL to score, and the eighth to shoot it into an empty net.
“It’s one of the dreams I always had that I wanted to score a goal and now I had the opportunity,” said a smiling Ullmark after the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks. “I tried it at the Winter Classic, didn’t really make it and now everything came together.”
Ullmark made 26 saves for the Bruins.
With the exclamation point goal, the Bruins tripped the Canucks 3-1 at Rogers Arena. The Boston Bruins remain a perfect 2-0 on their Western road trip. The team is now winners of six straight games, including five on the road.
Hampus Lindholm and Brad Marchand each scored a goal for the league-best Bruins (44-8-5) at the end of the first period, giving Boston a commanding 2-0 lead early.
Brock Boeser scored the sole goal for the Canucks, with Conor Garland drawing the assist.
The loss for the Canucks capped a chaotic day. Early Saturday morning, the team pulled the trigger for Vitali Kravtsov in a trade with the New York Rangers. A few hours later, Vancouver struggled to find an offensive groove against the Bruins.
On Thursday, the team posted an overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues. The struggling Canucks (23-30-5) continue to find their identity on their ice, while building on their roster as the March 3 trade deadline approaches. Canucks coach Rick Tocchet saw positives in his team’s effort.
“This was a Stanley Cup-winning type team, but I thought we hung in there,” Tocchet said. “We played well, I’m kind of proud of the guys, some of our top guys are a little tired.”
And beat up. In the opening minute of Saturday’s game, Canucks defenceman Ethan Bear was hit in the mouth by a flying puck off a deflected slap shot by the Bruins’ Matt Grzelcyk. Bear did not return.
The Bruins are fresh off a back-and-forth 6-5 shootout win over the Seattle Kraken on Thursday. In Vancouver, the Bruins came out sluggish until Lindholm capitalized on a Guillaume Brisebois elbowing penalty, scoring on a power-play slap shot at the 17:08 mark. Just over two minutes later (19:25), Marchand scored in transition.
The Bruins outshot the Canucks 20-7 in the first period. The Canucks were able to make it a game halfway through the third period when Boeser scored off a pass from Garland at the 7:24 mark.
“Being down by a goal that late in the game against the best team in the NHL, I definitely look at that as a plus and a positive and we should definitely build on that,” said Boeser, who scored his 10th goal of the season.
Despite the loss, the Canucks seem encouraged about their rookie goaltender Arturs Silovs, who made 33 stops against Boston in just his fourth career NHL game.
But it was the goalie on the other end of the ice that will have the highlight reels buzzing for the rest of the weekend.
“Really happy for him,” said Bruins coach Jim Montgomery. “Vancouver played well and they caused us some problems, but we usually protect the front of our net really well. We didn’t do that in the second and third great. Linus had to be good.”
“It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling right now. I have to kind of digest it all, I’m just so bloody happy,” said Ullmark.
Demko returns Monday
Prior to the Canucks and Bruins game, Tocchet confirmed that Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko will dress on Monday when the team faces the Dallas Stars on the road. Demko has been out with a groin injury since Dec. 1.
Bruins: Play the Oilers on Monday in Edmonton.
Canucks: Face the Stars on Monday in Dallas.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2023.