CALGARY -- Jacob Markstrom was the Calgary Flames prized free agent in the off-season.  The 31-year-old inked a six year, $36 million dollar contract.

So far his season has been the difference between night and day.  Markstrom started off with a 12-8-1 record.  Since then he's gone 8-12-1 and his goals against average has sky rocketed.

On Monday night, Markstrom was pulled after giving up four goals in two periods against the Winnipeg Jets.  Markstrom doesn't like losing so this is clearly frustrating for him and he knows he has to play better or there won't be any playoff games for the Flames this season.

"You know you want to steal every game and you know the urge to play better is very high and I always try to push myself in practice," Markstrom said.

Jacob Markstrom

"But at the end of the day you've got to get the work done in the games and you know I'm not happy with my performance."


Head Coach Darryl Sutter has coached many elite goaltenders in his coaching career.  In Chicago he had Ed Belfour. In San Jose Evgeni Nabokov was the starter.  In Calgary for his first go round Miikka Kiprusoff was the number one goaltender and in Los Angeles, he won a pair of Stanley Cups with Jonathan Quick as his go-to guy.

Sutter says Markstrom has the ability to be elite as well.

"I've coached a lot of really good goalies and you know he has the ability to reach that level of those guys if he sticks with it and works his way through it."


The Flames enter Wednesday night's game in Vancouver with an identical record as the Canucks.  Both teams have struggled to a 16-18-3 start.

With time running out on the season it's a crucial game for both teams.  Markstrom doesn't like being outplayed by other goaltenders but that has happened quite a bit of late.

The pressure is on but Markstrom says he'll get through it and be better.

"When it's not going the way you want it to go I think it's kind of easy to wander out and try new things but you've got to stick with what you know works and you've got to keep pushing those details," he said.

"You've got to work on them and do work before practice and do work after practice and be good in those details in practice as well and have it carry over to games.  It's frustrating for sure but we've got to stick together as a team and come out of this."

Markstrom and the Flames are keeping an eye on the situation in Vancouver right now.  Forward Adam Gaudette tested positive for COVID-19 and it's not clear yet whether that will affect tomorrow nights game.  No other Canucks have tested positive so far.