June 14, 2024

Which Recent Bruins Injury Will Provide the Biggest Obstacle?

Jan 9, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) is checked by an athletic trainer during overtime against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins lost Brandon Carlo (upper body), Matt Poitras (upper body) and Linus Ullmark (lower body) to separate injuries across the past two games. While the extent of their injuries is not yet clear, the Bruins could be facing real trouble if their absences are long-term.

In each of the Boston Bruins’ past two games, Jeremy Swayman was in net while allowing the “walk-off” goal. Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin scored the only goal in the shootout for Colorado in its 4-3 win on Monday, and Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz beat Swayman with a wrister off the post with 56 seconds left in overtime to give Arizona the 4-3 win on Tuesday.

The difference? Swayman made 33 saves against Colorado and gave the Bruins every opportunity to win the game on Monday. On Tuesday, Schmaltz’s overtime winner was the only shot Swayman faced all night.

Linus Ullmark, who made 32 saves in 62:06 against the Coyotes on Tuesday, suffered a lower-body injury on a lunge save attempt on Logan Cooley at 2:40 of overtime. He had to be helped off the ice by Kevin Shattenkirk and Jake DeBrusk after going down.

After sitting on the bench for over two hours, Swayman had to jump into the game without a proper warm-up to play through the rest of the extra frame, and possibly a shootout. It didn’t get there, but it’s hard to blame Swayman for what happened, and Bruins coach Jim Montgomery isn’t.

“It’s really difficult,” Montgomery told NESN’s Andy Brickley after Tuesday’s loss. “You’ve been sitting there for, jeez, two-and-a-half hours. Now you gotta go in, and it doesn’t matter who was in net. That’s a post-and-in shot from inside the house. That’s a tough one to save.”

The Bruins are in trouble, and not because they have lost three of their past four games. They also lost key members of each positional group to injury between the two games, with no indication of how serious each is.

In addition to losing Ullmark, Matt Poitras exited the Coyotes loss early in the third period with an upper-body injury. Brandon Carlo exited Monday’s loss to Colorado in the second period, also with an upper-body injury, and was held out against Arizona. Montgomery said he is day-to-day.

Carlo is Boston’s most used player on the penalty kill. Poitras is a key piece of Boston’s present and future, and having his development stalled with an injury absence would be devastating to the Bruins organization.

But losing Ullmark, who makes up one half of Boston’s elite goalie tandem, their calling card, the main reason why this team is atop the Eastern Conference, would be another level of setback.

Swayman has put up better numbers this season and should be able to handle more starts if Ullmark misses significant time, but the Bruins’ ability to roll out a top tier starter every night without overworking either was a massive advantage.

Jan 9, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) is checked by an athletic trainer during overtime against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

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