MONTREAL — The Calgary Flames ought to have been useless in that time beyond regulation interval towards the Montreal Canadiens. Useless within the water.

It felt like deja vu when Tyler Toffoli obtained known as for a double-minor high-sticking name in time beyond regulation towards the Montreal Canadiens Monday evening, even when it took greater than three seconds for the penalty to be known as. The Flames have been already in powerful coming into their Monday nighter as Elias Lindholm and MacKenzie Weegar have been each scratched as a result of an harm and a non-COVID sickness. Chris Tanev taking a puck to the neck made issues worse, sending the Flames down to 5 defencemen. Maybe in the event that they performed one other opponent on this evening, the Flames would have been blown out and an time beyond regulation interval wouldn’t have been crucial.

However Jacob Markstrom, in his second look on the Flames’ highway journey, was certain and regular after they wanted him to be. The Canadiens swarmed him and he made save after save, exhibiting why he was thought of Vezina-calibre within the first place. The Canadiens’ energy play struggled all evening however that they had 4 minutes to beat Markstrom whereas protecting the puck within the offensive zone. Nick Suzuki and Christian Dvorak combining on a give-and-go wasn’t sufficient. Joel Armia, parked in entrance of objective, whacked away at possibilities to no avail.

What ought to have been a bitter finish for Markstrom in time beyond regulation, much like what Dan Vladar skilled towards the Maple Leafs on Saturday evening, was as a substitute probably the most promising signal that the Flames’ beginning goaltender was trying like his outdated self. If it wasn’t for a shootout that noticed Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach beat him, Markstrom emerges victorious as a substitute of a loser in a 2-1 loss.

However, absolutely, this efficiency that noticed Markstrom make 37 saves — an improved follow-up from his 26-save sport towards the Blue Jackets on Friday — ought to deliver him some confidence, proper?

“No, probably not,” Markstrom mentioned. “A loss is a loss. Acquired to be higher. Acquired to be higher than the opposite goalie and obtained to let in fewer objectives than the opposite goalie. That’s my job and that’s what it’s about.”

You’ll be able to name Markstrom an everlasting realist. He’s not the sort to speak himself up when he loses — the day we discover any NHLer who does that persistently, we’d have to look at their mind for science. Markstrom won’t discover the silver lining in his efficiency till he wins. However whereas he gained’t admit it, his final two efforts are genuinely promising. The Flames discovered themselves battling extra adversity by their incapacity to attain persistently, whether or not at even energy or on the facility play. The Flames’ penalty kill might use a break, having needed to fend off 20 totally different power-play alternatives over the past three video games.

“These penalties — all our least penalized guys,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter mentioned. “Noah (Hanifin) went from being our least penalized man to one among our (most) within the final three video games.”

Markstrom nonetheless stood tall. He ended the sport with a .974 save proportion, the most effective in any sport he’s had all season lengthy. His sport towards Columbus on Friday noticed him finish the evening with a .923 save proportion, one among his top-five finest postings of the season. Per, Markstrom had a 4.92 objectives saved above anticipated fee. It’s a small pattern dimension towards two groups who seemingly gained’t see the postseason and don’t have the identical expertise, and to some extent, the identical high quality because the Flames have. However the Flames want Markstrom to carry out effectively towards anybody, and he has in these two video games.

“He retains us within the sport,” Flames ahead Jonathan Huberdeau mentioned. “In time beyond regulation, I imply, he’s getting a variety of photographs. Made some big saves through the sport. I’m certain he was upset within the shootout. However on the finish of the day, he gave us a giant probability to win that sport. He performed a hell of a sport.

It additionally offers validation to the Flames’ efforts to offer Markstrom a relaxation after they did. He’s a lot farther alongside than practically two weeks in the past when he straight up advised the media that he “sucked”. Vladar was in a position to get his video games in whereas serving to to offer the Flames a lift. If Markstrom continues to play on the excessive degree he’s at, he will probably be nearer to a win.

“He was superior tonight,” Andersson mentioned. “We’ve got a variety of confidence in Marky. He’s an awesome goalie and he confirmed that tonight, for certain.”

Standing replace on Chris Tanev

A scary second occurred when Tanev tried to dam a shot from Suzuki partway by the sport. Tanev is able to taking part in by many a painful harm, and is even acknowledged because the group’s “hardest participant”. So, when it took him a little bit of time to rise up after taking a shot to his neck, you knew one thing needed to be incorrect.

“I do know the sensation and I do know the sound,” Sutter mentioned, who himself took a puck off his face throughout a January 1984 sport, resulting in a fractured cheekbone and harm to his left eye.

“It’s scary while you see Chris go down like that,” teammate Rasmus Andersson mentioned. “It’s scary while you see anybody go down. Particularly when it’s somebody in your group.”

Per the Flames, Tanev was despatched to an area hospital however left after detrimental exams and was cleared to journey again to Calgary together with his group. Following the sport, as media shuffled to the guests’ locker room to talk to gamers, Tanev walked round on his personal two ft — a definite change from when he was helped off the ice, visibly shaken, after taking the Suzuki shot.

“You by no means need to see that,” Huberdeau mentioned.

Had been the Flames impressed in Tanev’s absence? It appears so, in line with Sutter, who tried to push his gamers to battle arduous for him. The Flames blocked photographs and did what they may to push the sport to time beyond regulation and have been lucky to get some extent despite all of their absences.

“Go do it for him,” Sutter mentioned.

(Picture: David Kirouac / USA Right now)


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