‘I just suck at hockey right now’: Jacob Markstrom owns latest Flames setback (but really shouldn’t have to)
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
On Thursday night, Calgary Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom was a central figure in two key plays that decided the game. The Flames lost to Montreal by a 2-1 score.
The first play, 13 seconds in, saw Markstrom race out of his net to intercept a puck before Habs forward Sean Monahan could get to it. Markstrom won the race, but couldn’t corral the puck, and Montreal scored and took a 1-0 lead.
Speaking to the media in the Flames locker room following the loss, Markstrom had a very blunt assessment of that play: “I think everyone saw what happened. It’s not a good play.”
Post-game, Flames head coach Darryl Sutter defended his netminder.
“It wasn’t just on the goalie,” said Sutter. “Sean had the whole middle of the ice. There’s certain coverage there on the first face-off that should be there.”
The second play, early in the third period, saw Markstrom exchange words (and a brief jab from his stick) with Habs forward Josh Anderson. Andrew Mangiapane came into the fray to help out his goaltender and ended up getting a minor penalty for roughing.
31 seconds into the Montreal power play, and the Habs took a 2-1 lead off a Cole Caufield one-timer.
Markstrom had a blunt assessment of what led to his disagreement with Anderson: “Nothing really. I just suck at hockey right now.”
“At the end, their power play scores a goal on a very undisciplined penalty,” said Sutter of the game-deciding goal. “I have no idea why we retaliated, there’s two of us retaliated there, for no reason.
While the two Markstrom plays may get much of the attention, what might be lost in the discourse is how much the Flames dominated the game in terms of possession, shots and overall play.
“Win everywhere except where it counts,” noted Sutter.
The Flames out-shot Montreal by a 46-19 margin. Scoring chances (at five-on-five) were 26-13. High-danger chances were 14-4. The high-danger chances were generated by some of the Flames’ high-end offensive talents: Mikael Backlund (3), Blake Coleman (3), Adam Ruzicka (2), Elias Lindholm (2), Andrew Mangiapane, Tyler Toffoli, Jonathan Huberdeau and Dillon Dube. Only one (from Lindholm) resulted in a goal.
On the power play, the Flames generated 12 shots, 10 scoring chances and four high-danger chances. Zero of them got past Jake Allen.
The Flames’ two goaltenders have been really good for this group – especially Markstrom, who bailed out his team countless times last season. This was one occasion where their netminder was having some challenges and needed his team to return the favour.
Unfortunately for the Flames, their scorers couldn’t rise to the challenge, and the Flames lost yet another close game. (They’re now 6-5-3 in one-goal games.) If the Flames are going to get to where they want to be this season, they need to be able to answer the call when their goaltender needs them to get one more puck in the net.
Markstrom is owning Thursday’s loss to Montreal. If the rest of the team held up their end of the bargain, he really shouldn’t have to.
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