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Linus Ullmark Is Absolutely Ridiculous

Linus Ullmark #35 of the Boston Bruins is congratulated by teammate Brandon Carlo #25 after scoring a goalie goal during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena February 25, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Going into Saturday the Boston Bruins held the best record in the Eastern Conference and seemed on track to pass the current NHL record for most wins in a season. A shiny thing indeed, but not worth much else: the mark was set by the 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings, who lost in the conference finals to eventual champions Colorado Avalanche, and equaled in the 2018-2019 campaign by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who got bounced in the first round.

This is the stretch of season where a team's trajectory starts to emerge after the all star break, you try to lock in line combinations, you go out to market before the trade deadline to fill holes, you sacrifice whatever small animals are necessary to keep your goalie steady in fear of turning the fate of the franchise over to the backup out of St. Cloud State who still has that new car smell.

The Bruins not only seem to have all the elegance of a steamroller thanks to consistent scoring from Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak—who only trails Connor McDavid as the league's best scorer—the team also seems to create their own luck. Facing Seattle on Friday the Bruins were locked in a 5-5 tie with 1:38 left until Jake DeBrusk knocked in the game winner off a shot from Charlie McAvoy.

Boston seems to be reaching the notes of something that sounds like inevitability, where the question of how this whole thing ends is either lifting the Stanley Cup or some kind of apocalyptic implosion around the time of the conference finals.

This brings us to Saturday's visit to Vancouver and a wobbling Canucks team. This game would have been notable if only for the introduction of Dmitry Orlov and Garney Hathaway to Boston's defense, arriving in a trade from the Capitals on Thursday. Boston got ahead early, jumping to a 2-0 lead in the first with a Hampus Lindholm power play goal, and Marchand followed with 25 seconds left in the period, a breakaway on the right wing before putting Kyle Burroughs in a blender. Vancouver's Brock Boeser scored to pull the game within a goal in the third period, and then with 48 seconds left in the game, Bruins Goalie Linus Ullmark knocked down an incoming puck, squared up for a chip shot and this happened:

What the absolute fuck? How in the hell? This guy is already a favorite to win the Venzia trophy, he leads the league in save percentage and goals-against average, has the most wins, and now he's the 13th goalie to score a goal in NHL history, and the eighth to do it by actually shooting the puck into net.

The last time this happened was to do this was Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators against Chicago in 2020. Honors and historical markers aside, just look at this shot. Ullmark almost seems to slow time to the space between breaths, taking aim as the seconds tick down, he sails the puck over incoming traffic, passing the blue line to land right in the slot and a no-doubt-in-your-mind empty net goal. He had the game locked up with 26 saves, that Boston would secure a win off Ullmark's short game is as amazing as it is terrifying. If the Bruins have this kind of sorcery working in their favor you have to wonder what it will actually take to stop them.

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