(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On X (Formerly Twitter) @abblue

The Boston Bruins are amidst a four-game losing streak coming off the holiday freeze. There have been a lot of things to place the blame on during this skid, and goaltending is far down on the list. 

Linus Ullmark and Jeremey Swayman have been perhaps the biggest bright spot on the team this season. They have made numerous timely saves that have contributed to the team winning games.

The two netminders have a combined goals-against average of 2.66 and a combined .918 save percentage. Both lead the league, putting them in the running for a back-to-back Jennings Trophy. Regardless of the goaltenders being first in the two most important goaltending statistical categories, the team in front of them has failed them as of late. 

Boston has allowed at least three or more goals in four of their last five games. Their lone win in that span was a 5-4 overtime victory against the New Islanders. Ullmark stood on his head in that tilt and completely bailed them out, making several game-altering saves. 

The defending Vezina Trophy winner’s individual numbers have seen a noticeable dip compared to last season. That was to be expected, though, as he was the most dominant goalie in the league. Despite the drop in his numbers, The 6’5 Swedish netminder is still part of the driving factor that wins his team games. 

The Bruins don’t have nearly the goal production they had last season. Through 32 games, they are seventh in the league with a +13 goal differential and have 98 goals scored, tied for 22nd. Through 32 games last season, it only took them 23 to score over 98 goals, and through 32 games, they scored 114. The Bruins are currently fourth in the league in least goals allowed, with the goaltending being a huge part of that. 

Another thing that Ullmark has in his arsenal is his ability to play the puck. He almost serves as a third defenseman regarding puck retrieval and often generates outlet passes that lead to breakouts. He’s also not afraid to be aggressive, as we’ve seen him wander far out of the net to make a play on the puck multiple times. 

Also, much like last season, Ullmark has been stellar when it comes to withstanding early-period surges by opponents. So often, he prevents teams from obtaining early momentum in periods by making high-danger saves, which have led to Boston scoring. He has the ability to change the course of a game any night, which not many goalies in the league can do. 

In 17 appearances so far, Ullmark is 10-5-2 with a 2.87 GAA and a .913 SV and isn’t in the top ten for either category. However, the numbers do not represent how important and good he’s been for the Bruins this season. They are also a bit skewed due to an outlying game where he allowed seven goals against the New York Rangers. The 30-year-old has had a few off nights, but in general, when it comes to the eye test, he’s still a game-changing goaltender.