Flames' Markstrom frustrated: 'I just suck at hockey right now'
Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom was highly critical of his performance following his side's 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadians on Thursday night.
"I just suck at hockey right now," he told reporters in an extremely brief postgame presser.
Markstrom made 17 saves on 19 shots during the loss - the Flames' fourth in their last five games - and allowed the first goal of the contest just 13 seconds into the first period.
The veteran netminder ventured well outside of his crease in an attempt to knock a loose puck out of the reach of a streaking Sean Monahan. However, Markstrom's sliding block ended up putting the puck onto the stick of Juraj Slafkovsky, who made no mistake scoring into the empty net.
"I think everybody saw what happened," Markstrom said of the disastrous early sequence. "It's not a good play."
Flames head coach Darryl Sutter didn't think Markstrom was solely to blame for the error.
"It wasn't just on the goalie. Sean (Monahan) had the whole middle of the ice," Sutter said. "There's certain coverage there on the first faceoff that should be there."
Then, in the third period, Markstrom took a shot at Josh Anderson and the Canadiens forward retaliated with a fake cross-check. Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane came to his goalie's defense but earned himself a penalty for roughing.
Cole Caufield scored the eventual game-winner on the ensuing power play. Markstrom opted not to comment on the incident.
This season hasn't been the follow-up many were expecting for Markstrom after he was named a Vezina Trophy finalist for his work last campaign: He's currently sporting a 2.97 goals against average and .889 save percentage in 2022-23.
The loss against Montreal marks the 11th time this season that Markstrom has posted a save percentage below .900.
The 32-year-old vowed to step up his game in November and he reiterated that stance on Thursday.
"I thought the guys did a great job. Once again, I gotta be better. I suck right now, so I gotta step up," he said. "We're playing good hockey and not letting many scoring chances in, but we can't start behind every game.
At the other end of the ice, Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen made 45 saves as Montreal celebrated Monahan's return to Calgary with a victory.