Bruins win 8th straight, Ullmark frustrates Flames with 54 saves
CALGARY — Charlie McAvoy scored the overtime winner and Linus Ullmark made 54 saves as the Boston Bruins stunned the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Tuesday night.
The Flames overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit and led 3-2 in the third period until Pavel Zacha scored a power-play goal at 14:07 to tie the game for the Bruins, who have now won eight straight games.
Dmitry Orlov had two goals and an assist for Boston, which improved its league-leading record to 47-8-5.
Blake Coleman, Dillon Dube, and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for Calgary (27-21-13). The Flames are five points back of the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers, who are tied for the two wild-card spots in the NHL's Western Conference
It was another stellar night for Ullmark, who is the league leader in wins, goals-against average and save percentage. He is 31-4-1 on the season.
It was also a career high in saves for Ullmark, whose previous best was 44 done twice.
At the opposite end, Dan Vladar was pulled after the first period in which he gave up two goals on five shots. He was replaced by Jacob Markstrom, who stopped 13 of 15 shots to take the loss and fall to 15-16-7.
On the overtime winner, McAvoy was able to deflect in Patrice Bergeron's pass just as the game was looking like it was going to go to a shootout.
After relinquishing the 2-1 lead that the Bruins took into the third period, the visitors got it back to even at 14:07 on a power-play goal.
Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov stepped up to lay a heavy hit on Jake DeBrusk as he crossed the blue line with the puck, but the collision also took out teammate Andrew Mangiapane and with two Flames down on the ice, Orlov corralled the loose puck and set up Zacha for an open net.
After trailing most of the night, Dube tied it 2-2 at 8:16 of the third when he took Tyler Toffoli's pass and put a shot inside the far goalpost.
Less than 90 seconds later, the Flames took their first lead when Huberdeau's attempted pass to Jakob Pelletier deflected in off a Bruins' skate.
The Bruins are the NHL's No. 1 team with a 13-point cushion over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings, but they didn't look the part most of the night against the scuffling Flames who dominated the play throughout.
Boston had not generated fewer than 21 shots in a game or allowed more than 41 shots against and both of those marks fell with the Flames outshooting the visitors 57-20.
Down 2-0 after the first period despite holding a 19-5 edge in shots, the Flames kept up the pressure in the second, finally breaking through on Coleman's goal at 1:07 when he put a shot inside the post after being set up in the slot by Rasmus Andersson.
But after that it was all Ullmark.
After Coleman scored 1:07 into the period, the Flames had a bunch of dangerous chances only to be thwarted time and time again by the 29-year-old Swede.
Mikael Backlund had a short-handed breakaway. Pelletier was sprung for a partial breakaway. Later in the period, Ullmark jabbed out his blocker to deny Huberdeau than snagged Pelletier's shot on the rebound.
Through 40 minutes, the Flames trailed 2-1 despite a 39-9 edge in shots.
It what's been a consistent storyline all season, the Flames outplayed the Bruins by a wide margin in the first period, outshooting the guests 19-5, but exited the period down 2-0.
Orlov scored his first goal as a Bruin at 4:47 when he took a pass from his defensive partner Hamphus Lindholm and wove through the neutral zone and over the Flames' blue line, beating Vladar blocker side on a rising shot from 40 feet out.
Shortly after, Huberdeau got in alone but was robbed by Ullmark. Boston responded to make it 2-0 with Orlov scoring again, this time off setup from DeBrusk.
The Bruins improved to 21-2-2 against the Western Conference. Included is an 11-1-2 mark against the Pacific Division.
Flames centre Nazem Kadri played in his 800th career game while Coleman's marker was his 100th career goal.
BLUE LINE SHUFFLE
Both teams made tweaks to its blue line. Matt Grzelcyk came back in for the Bruins after sitting out last game, bumping Brandon Carlo to the press box. The Flames switched their top two pairings that have been together all season with Noah Hanifin partnering with Chris Tanev and Andersson and MacKenzie Weegar forming a duo.
Bruins: Open a four-game home stand on Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres.
Flames: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2023.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press