‘I just suck at hockey right now’: NHL goalie down on himself after error

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom finished second in Vezina Trophy voting last season after leading the team to a division title with a 37-15-9 record, 2.22 goals against average, .922 save percentage and a league-best nine shutouts.

Even though he struggled in the second-round loss to the Edmonton Oilers, he was expected to be among the top goaltenders again this season.

But his confidence appears to be shot after Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in which he allowed a goal 13 seconds into the game on a bad gamble. He slid way out to try to prevent Sean Monahan from reaching a loose puck, but the puck went to Juraj Slafkovsky, who scored into the open net.

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‘I think everyone saw what happened, and it’s not a good play,’ he told reporters after the game.

Markstrom later slashed at Josh Anderson in the third period, starting a scrum that left the Flames short-handed. Montreal’s Cole Caufield scored the game-winner on the power play.

‘I just suck at hockey right now,’ Markstrom said.

He isn’t the only 2021-22 Vezina finalist being hard on himself this season.

‘The goalie played a (expletive) game again,’ last year’s winner, Igor Shesterkin, said after the New York Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils this week. ‘I’m ashamed.’

Markstrom sits with a 8-6-2 record, 2.97 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. He says he knows he needs to be better.

‘Work harder,’ he said. ‘Work harder. Stop more pucks.’

This post appeared first on USA TODAY