To win the Battle of Alberta, the Flames need Markstrom to truly be elite

Flames

Elite Goaltending?

To win the Stanley Cup you need depth, luck, and a goalie. The Calgary Flames need Jacob Markstrom to be elite and return to form for a chance at the Stanley Cup.

Apparently, the Calgary Flames have a Vezina Award finalist for a starting goalie. The type of reliable and consistent starting goalie the Flames have searched for since Miikka Kiprusoff became a Calgary legend in the 2000s.

For the Calgary Flames to win the Battle of Alberta, they will need to start their elite, Vezina Award Finalist, goalie. Ok. The Flames also need to manage Connor McDavid. But in any sport, you can’t stop the best player in the world, you can only hope to manage their impact.

But to win the Stanley Cup, the Calgary Flames need Markstrom to be the elite level, number 1 goalie he was signed to be.

Markstrom versus Edmonton: The Story in the Stats.

Apparently, the Flames have been starting their elite level, number 1 goalie in the second-round series with the Edmonton Oilers.

If this pattern of play continues, the Flames will find themselves feeling deja-vu: losing a Battle of Alberta in the Stanley Cup playoffs and raising concerns over the team’s goaltending.

The Oilers have scored 15 goals during the first three games of the second-round series with the Flames. The Dallas Stars scored 14 goals over 7 games in the first round.

Where has Markstrom’s elite form from the 2021-2022 season disappeared against the Edmonton Oilers?

Markstrom’s statistics for the 2021-2022 season are, in fact, elite. The Vezina Finalist earned a record of 37-15-9, with a 2.22 GAA, a .922 SV%, and 9 shutouts. When Markstrom is on, the Flames play better and with more confidence in front of him.

The story in the stats changes when you focus solely on the Edmonton Oilers. Since joining the Calgary Flames in 2020, Markstrom has a regular-season record of 6-7-9 against the Oilers. In those 13 games, Markstrom’s stats aren’t elite: 3.70 GAA, a .813 SV%, and 1 shutout.

The stats actually get worse if you include Markstrom’s 2022 playoff stats from the Battle of Alberta. In 3 games, Markstrom is 1-2, with a 5.8 GAA and a .848 SV%.

Frankly, those statistics are appalling for a goalie who is a definition of elite.

Connon McDavid is playing outta-this-world hockey right now.

McDavid is a competitive advantage for Edmonton in every game. Casting blame for the Flame’s series deficit entirely on Markstrom is unfair. They have the best player in the world playing his best hockey. You don’t really stop the best player in the game, you manage or contain them.

Calgary hasn’t controlled McDavid or the Oilers since Markstrom joined the Battle of Alberta. Yes, the Flames need Markstrom to truly be elite. However, the Flames need Markstrom to make saves consistently and with confidence. Markstrom has looked shaky and anything but sharp in the three games against the Oilers.

When the Flames are confident that the Markstrom behind them is playing elite-level hockey, they’ll have a better chance of containing and managing Connor McDavid.

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