The Florida Panthers have a new number one goalie, and his name is Jacob Markstrom.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the young man and he’s got a lot of confidence in his abilities,” general manager Dale Tallon said today. “He’s big and strong. We were hoping to hold off a little bit, but let’s go. Let’s see if he can do it, and I’m very confident that he can.”
Markstrom has been waiting in the wings of the organization for quite some time now. The tall 23-year-old Swede was drafted 31st overall in 2008 and has spent the better parts of three seasons in the AHL, with the odd NHL appearance mixed in.
Now, with the injury to Jose Theodore, combined with the struggles of Scott Clemmensen, Markstrom’s chance to prove himself at hockey’s top level has come.
Markstrom has already started two games for the Panthers this season — at Pittsburgh on Feb. 22 (3-1 loss) and versus Boston (4-1 loss) two days later — stopping 65 of 71 shots for a respectable .915 save percentage.
“I’ve been feeling like I’m ready a long time,” said Markstrom. “Just working hard down there in San Antonio, and now I’m here. I’m just excited to be here.”
It’s worth noting that Markstrom has often been the answer to the question, “Why don’t the Panthers trade for Roberto Luongo?”
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.