In the two weeks since Jacob Markstrom made our list of five backup goalies that weren’t getting it done, the 25-year-old has started three games for the Vancouver Canucks, won twice and allowed just four goals total.
Markstrom’s save percentage in those three games? An impressive .956.
Which is to say, he’s been getting it done.
Last night against Edmonton, he stopped 32 of 33 shots to help a severely undermanned Vancouver side to a 2-1 overtime victory. If not for the bloody (literally) heroics of Jannik Hansen, Markstrom might have been the story of the game.
“That was a big win for us,” Markstrom told the Associated Press. “I got a lot of help tonight. The boys were great.”
Markstrom’s save percentage has climbed all the way to .924, which compares favorably to Ryan Miller‘s .909, albeit in considerably fewer games.
Miller hasn’t played since suffering an injury during the shootout last weekend in Florida. The Canucks originally said that the 35-year-old had cramped up, the insinuation being that it was nothing serious.
But Markstrom may be the starter for at least a couple of more games.
“Miller’s a little longer than we thought,” coach Willie Desjardins said yesterday. “I thought he’d be close to being ready to go. He’s maybe a week.”
The Canucks host Los Angeles tomorrow, then get three days off before Anaheim pays a visit Friday.
Marian Hossa will be back in the Blackhawks’ lineup tonight at home versus Carolina.
The 36-year-old winger missed Chicago’s last two games with an upper-body injury.
“Obviously we had the nice break, a couple extra days definitely helped settle down,” he told CSN Chicago this morning. “Now I just tested it on the ice, and it felt great.”
Hossa has just five goals and 11 assists in 31 games, as the Blackhawks have been carried offensively by the Patrick Kane line.
“I feel like I get so many chances,” Hossa told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Just the finishing is not what I expect, obviously. From that many chances, I expect myself to be more productive. It’s definitely frustrating. I’m just trying to stay positive [and] keep working hard. Overall, I feel good. Just the production’s not there.”
Despite the lack of offensive production, Hossa has remained excellent defensively.
Ryan Getzlaf knows he’s not playing up to his potential, and he feels bad about it.
The Ducks’ 30-year-old captain had just one goal — an empty netter — to go with 19 assists in his first 29 games of 2015-16. That lack of production showed in Anaheim’s disappointing record: 12-15-6.
“This is probably the first time in my career so far that I felt I’ve kind of let them down at the start of the season,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “I haven’t been able to do the things that I’m used to doing and they’re using to seeing from me. And that affects our hockey team. There’s no doubt about it.”
Getzlaf’s remorseful remarks came on the heels of some much harsher ones by Ducks GM Bob Murray, who recently alluded to “far too many returning players who decided training for this season was optional.”
The Ducks host the Flyers tonight before embarking on a key three-game road trip through Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
As you can see, Anaheim’s not all that far out of it in the Pacific Division. But yikes, does that “goals for” total sure stick out.
Related: Getzlaf says he’s not ‘invincible’ to criticism
Eight points back of a playoff spot, the Winnipeg Jets have been forced to place center Mark Scheifele on injured reserve with what they originally called an “upper-body injury.” In a related move, they’ve recalled forward Adam Lowry from AHL Manitoba.
Scheifele was hurt yesterday in practice. According to the Winnipeg Sun, his “head accidentally collided with teammate Andrew Ladd during a drill at MTS Centre. He was bleeding and looked woozy as a couple of teammates eventually escorted him off the ice.”
It’s a big loss for the struggling team. The 22-year-old has 12 goals and 10 assists, his 22 points good for fourth in team scoring.
Winnipeg went into the Christmas break with a 15-17-2 record and just two wins in its last six.
The Jets host Pittsburgh tonight and Detroit Tuesday, before embarking on a five-game road trip.
Jets coach Paul Maurice confirmed today that it’s a concussion:
Related: Here are the five most disappointing teams in the NHL
A 2-10-0 record in December has cost the Montreal Canadiens top spot in the Atlantic Division.
The Detroit Red Wings leapfrogged the Habs on Saturday with a 3-2 win in Nashville.
And there could be another lead change today, which could finish with either the Bruins (who play in Ottawa) or Panthers (who host Columbus) on top.
Here’s how the standings look as of this morning:
Here’s how they looked at the beginning of the month:
The Canadiens held a players-only meeting after yesterday’s 3-1 loss to Washington.
“It’s a matter of will,” coach Michel Therrien told the Montreal Gazette. “We need guys who are willing to go to the dirty areas. We have one guy who’s doing that and he (Daniel Carr) scored a goal tonight.”
In a related story, the Habs could really use winger Brendan Gallagher. It’s possible they could get him back for the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day against the Bruins, but he’s only just been cleared to handle the puck after having hand surgery in November.