Connect with us

Calgary Flames

Sutter Says Both Flames Goalies Have Been Streaky This Season

Calgary Flames head coach says goaltenders Jacob Markstrom and backup Dan Vladar have both been streaky this year but the numbers suggest those streaky tendencies are in opposite directions.



If there is one thing you can be sure of with Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter, it’s that he knows the numbers. 

Which numbers? All of them. 

Give him a date range and he can probably tell you who scored how many goals, what goaltender had how many wins between this day or that one. 

Just as everyone knows he knew Jakob Pelletier’s jersey number after his first NHL game, coach Sutter knows the other Jacob’s numbers. 

And they’re not good. 

Jacob Markstrom, victimized in overtime on Monday as the Ottawa Senators capped a three goal comeback, has won twice in 10 games since January. His save percentage hasn’t climbed above .900 this season and currently sits at .891. 

Fans, writers, former players and just about any hockey follower not with the Calgary Flames has been suggesting it’s time for Dan Vladar to take over as the guy carrying the load. At least for now, and with a leash at least as long as the one that’s been given to Markstrom so far. 

But on Wednesday, following all the chatter, Sutter used his knowledge of the numbers to protect his 33-year-old veteran, who has had played 36 of the team’s 54 games so far. 

No doubt Sutter has seen the scribblings. He may not care what the “experts” say … but he knows exactly what they’re saying. 

“Our goalies have both been streaky,” Sutter told reporters on Wednesday

“I’m not getting into the individual stuff. That’s for you to go talk to the players. You want me to transfer something through the media. That’s not the way it works with me. Marky, if he’d lost in overtime in Buffalo and won in Ottawa, then you wouldn’t be saying that.”

At surface level, it’s hard to imagine why Sutter thinks both goaltenders have been streaky. Unless he was referring to Vladar’s record-tying streak of 13 games without a regulation loss — a 10-0-3 run that finally came to an end on the road in Detroit last week. 

But that’s not what he was talking about. Sutter was pointing out the kinks in Vladar’s game after he’s started a few in a row. 

“If you look at it, there’s pivotal points through the season with those guys. And to be quite honest, it’s not so much Marky’s starts, it’s Vladar being able to handle when he gets three or four in a row. It’s the next one that you start seeing it, right? Because he’s a kid. You start seeing things in his game and it’s, ‘OK, gotta pull that back.’ ”

Here’s the thing, though. If we’re pulling goalies back after seeing things creep into their game, Markstrom should have been reigned in numerous times this season. His streaks have tended to go south quickly. We’re months removed from the “I suck at hockey” incident. 

“If you look at it from the start of the year — just check it — I think Marky wins four of his first five. And then you go into early November, and that’s where we struggled. You look at it, late October and a couple weeks of November, there were probably seven or eight games where our goaltending was not where it needed to be,” Sutter said. 

“And then I remember talking after about the first quarter (about) the ratio of started games. So then we really dug in on that and adjusted it more. And then, also, before Christmas, where you start getting close to that halfway mark, Marky was really hot in there. 

“And then once January rolled around, we started looking at more starts and the schedule and recovery and all that stuff — and then Vladdy got hot.

“So if you look at it, it’s been real streaky on both sides.”

Get CHN in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to get posts sent directly to your email.

CHN on Facebook