Boston Bruins: Daniel Vladar enjoys fairytale beginning to NHL career

Boston Bruins goaltender Daniel Vladar (80). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Bruins goaltender Daniel Vladar (80). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Daniel Vladar couldn’t have wished for a better introduction to life in the National Hockey League.

Making what was his first career start in the NHL, Daniel Vladar was thrown into a tough situation against the Pittsburgh Penguins given that the Boston Bruins have been in somewhat of a funk as of late, but the goaltender delivered and then some with a debut that will live long in the memory bank.

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With the Bruins 3-4-2 prior to the game and with Tuukka Rask still banged up, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy opted to hand Daniel Vladar his first career start in the National Hockey League, which so happened to come against one of the hottest teams in the league in the Penguins who had won six straight and were 7-2-0 prior to Tuesday night.

Talk about being thrown straight in at the deep end.

However, all that added pressure seemed to get the very best out of Vladar who played more like a 10-year grizzled veteran than a fresh-faced rookie who was going up against Sidney Crosby for the very first time. It was incredibly impressive.

Vladar was cool and calm throughout and played with confidence in his own crease, giving his team a platform on which to go and pick up a win they simply needed to have. David Pastrnak converted on the power play in the first period and then Trent Frederic scored the game-winning goal at 7:07 in the third after Brandon Tanev had made it a tied game.

Daniel Vladar (80)
Boston Bruins goaltender Daniel Vladar (80). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Bruins’ Daniel Vladar delivers unforgettable moment in first career NHL start

When you are struggling to score and your offense is stagnant, as is the case for the Bruins right now, you need stellar goaltending and Boston got that from their 23-year-old rookie, who was the 75th overall pick in the Third Round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the B’s.

Despite having never tasted what life in the NHL is like before, coupled with the fact that he only played five games for the Providence Bruins this season due to the AHL delaying the start of their year, Vladar played like a seasoned pro against Pittsburgh.

He was constantly pressured with traffic and a flurry of high-danger chances, particularly in the first period when he stopped 14 of the 15 shots the Penguins threw at him, only being beaten by Tanev who managed to knock home a rebound.

Other than that, though, Vladar was perfect and he finished the night with 34 saves on 35 shots for his first NHL career win in his first regular-season start, emerging as the shining light in what was a huge, huge win for the Bruins in a stacked East Division.

That wasn’t all, however. No, because not only did Daniel Vladar perform heroics all night long, but he also produced a jaw-dropping highlight reel play that would have dominated SportsCenter on ESPN given just how incredible a moment it was.

Halfway through the first period and with his team protecting a 1-0 lead, Vladar made an initial stop on a shot from the point and then displayed insane reflexes to set himself and somehow, someway, get his stick up in the way to divert Colton Sceviour‘s rebound attempt away from the net.

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It was just a crazy and hugely impressive save and it certainly introduced the National Hockey League and the rest of the hockey world to Daniel Vladar, who was called upon in a big moment to come in and do a job for the Boston Bruins against a red-hot opponent, and the rookie absolutely came up clutch to deliver a huge win in his first NHL career start. And he did it in some style.