By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
I was going about my day, scrolling through Twitter, when a retweet from my BNG colleague Mike Sullivan came across my feed. I stopped to read it and instantly realized it would be a great BNG article topic! I think we’ve all appreciated the efforts of Hampus Lindholm and Linus Ullmark so far this season as the Bruins steamroll their way through the NHL. However, I suspect many people (including myself) haven’t realized just how dominant the Bruins have been when both Ullmark and Lindholm have been in the starting lineup.
Since the Bruins acquired Lindholm, he and Ullmark have played 29 games together. In those 29 games, they have only lost two in any way and have failed to collect a point just once, with one of their losses being the shootout to the Kings earlier this season. Their 27-1-1 record in those games results in a staggering .948 points percentage.
The Bruins have been a solid team in the regular season for years. They were one game away from winning the Stanley Cup in 2019 but otherwise have had trouble making an impact in the postseason. Last year, Ullmark was decent but struggled against the Hurricanes in the first round. So far this season, he looks like the clear favorite for the Vezina and the Bruins’ obvious number-one goaltender.
Lindholm has been a stallion for the Bruins’ defense. Ever since the departures of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, the Bruins have been searching for someone who can play at the level of Charlie McAvoy and take some of the weight off his shoulders. It almost seems as though in Lindholm, the Bruins have found someone that can fill the voids left by both Chara and Krug. He was a brilliant player for the Ducks but has found another level to his game here in Boston.
Both players have had seasons deserving of being all-stars, but even if they are not voted in, their impact on the team will undoubtedly play a significant role in determining how far the Bruins can go in the playoffs. Fantastic forwards like David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand will help push the team up the standings, but solid defense and great goaltending will always be king in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
We all spent years complaining about the Bruins not having enough depth scoring. This year they seem to have figured that out with the addition of Pavel Zacha and with Taylor Hall and Jake DeBrusk finding their place in the lineup. With Lindholm anchoring the defense alongside McAvoy and Ullmark proving himself as an elite goaltender, this year’s team looks like a real contender for the first time in years.
Looking ahead into the future, the two Swedes form an excellent foundation for the Bruins’ core. If the team can re-sign Pastrnak, he’ll join Lindholm, Ullmark, and McAvoy as players who are right around their prime years with multiple years left on their contracts. Of course, they’ll need to reinforce the team’s depth and make good draft picks to replenish the young talent in the organization, but I feel great about that core of players.