Flames teammates say they've left goalie Markstrom “out to dry”

May 23 2022, 4:14 am

No doubt, Jacob Markstrom has had his issues handling the Edmonton Oilers this season. 

But don’t paint Sunday’s Game 3 loss with the same brush as some of the others, particularly with the effort he put forth in keeping Calgary, uh, relatively close. 

Markstrom, who allowed four on 34 through 40 minutes in the lopsided loss, held up his end of the bargain. His teammates didn’t. 

The Oilers, playing their first Battle of Alberta tilt on home soil in three decades, came out with a little extra juice, peppering the Gävle, Sweden product with 20 pucks before the turn of the first intermission. 

If that was the appetizer, Edmonton delivered the main course throughout the next 20 minutes, followed by an early exit in favour of backup Dan Vladar.

“I could have done it with seven minutes left in the second,” Calgary coach Darryl Sutter admitted, “but I didn’t think that was right because it wouldn’t give Vladdy time to warm up between periods.” 

A nifty three-way passing play, which featured a Leon Draisaitl touch-pass to Zach Hyman to pull the goalie out of position was the first sample. 

Then, a hat trick of efforts from Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Evander Kane — with Kane providing the finish on each of the three odd-man rushes — set the table for a Markstrom exit after 40 minutes of work.

“What were they, four odd-man rushes, I think?” questioned Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. “I thought he was awesome tonight, Marky. He made so many great saves and kept us in it in the first, and we didn’t play that great in front of him in the second.”

Vladar joined the festivities to start the third.

“Obviously, whatever happened, happened,” Markstrom said in advance of Game 3. “We’ve got to live in the moment… It’s a privilege to play at this time of year and you have to embrace it and really get up for the games. Tomorrow is another great opportunity for us to go into their building — a big Game 3. It’s up to us to be ready.

“We’ve got a great group and we’ve got to come together and have a good performance.”

One of them did. 

The rest, perhaps one could argue, not so much. 

Still, Markstrom’s sporting a 5.74 goals-against average and .853 save percentage through a trio of starts in the series. It’s a stark contrast to the .943 save percentage he put up against the Dallas Stars in a seven-game series win. 

The numbers are trending in the wrong direction, clearly.

But maybe hang it more on the team in front of him.

“We all know that we weren’t good enough in front of him,” Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson said. 

“What? Three two-on-ones for goals? We leave him out to dry. How many odd-man rushes did they have today, especially in the second period, and they capitalized. It just wasn’t good enough and it cost us.”

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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