In the third edition of Quads’ Awesome Canuck of the Week, Jacob Markstrom takes home this most prestigious of honours.
In a week where the two greatest Swedes (and greatest players) in Canucks’ history took centre stage, another Swede was stage left, sneaking into the spotlight.
Jacob Markstrom has been the Canucks’ MVP so far this season, and that continued during Sedin Week. Here’s four reasons why he was far and away the best Canuck of the past week.
1 | He continued to steal wins for his team.
Markstrom lacked consistency during his early years as a Canuck, and seldom “stole” his team any victories. He was prone to giving up deflating early goals.
This season, however, the numbers suggest Markstrom has stolen more wins for his team than any other goaltender around the National Hockey League:
Checking on Jacob Markstrom’s updated #s @csahockey after record-setting, 49-save shutout on Sedin night: leads NHL with +22.06 goal differential (ie. how many he’s saved Canucks based on quality and number of shots), ahead of Rask (15.22), Lehner (14.06) and Hellebuyck (13.76)— Kevin Woodley (@KevinisInGoal) February 14, 2020
These numbers would suggest that Markstrom has stolen 11 wins for the Canucks this season compared to an average NHL goaltender, for a total of 22 points. Take away those points, and the Canucks wouldn’t be in the playoffs; they’d be tied with the Los Angeles Kings for last in the Western Conference.
He’s been huge for the Canucks all season long and this past week was no different, as he pulled out wins in two games where the Canucks were outshot.
2 | He brought back memories on a nostalgic night.
On a night in which the organization retired Daniel and Henrik Sedin’s numbers in the rafters -- Markstrom was nothing short of remarkable. Or should I say reMarkyable?
No, I shouldn’t. I’m sorry.
Wednesday night’s tilt with the Blackhawks brought back loads of memories of the Sedin era along with it.
Memories of Duncan Keith’s vicious elbow to Daniel Sedin’s head many moons ago remained fresh in 18,000+ fans’ heads as they mercilessly booed the Hawks rearguard every time he touched the puck; Patrick Kane dazzled with his smooth stickhandling ability; and Jonathan Toews worked hard at both ends of the ice for a full 60 minutes.
The thing that perhaps stood out most was the play of the Canucks’ goaltender in that game. Just as Roberto Luongo had at countless times during the Sedin era, Markstrom shut the door on a team that outshot the Canucks mercilessly.
And just as fans at Rogers Arena once serenaded Luongo with their “Lu” chants -- “Marky” chants filled the arena after some of Markstrom’s biggest saves of the night.
This was a night that was well worth the price of admission, and Markstrom was a huge reason why.
3 | He had a 49-save shutout.
Not only is not allowing a goal on 49 shots flat out impressive, it’s never been done by a Vancouver Canucks goaltender, ever.
Most saves in a shutout by a Vancouver #Canuck:— Chris Faber 🤙🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) February 13, 2020
Jacob Markstrom: 49 (Tonight, which happens to be #SedinNight)
Kirk McLean: 45 (1991-1992
Jacob Markstrom: 43 (2019-20)
Cory Schneider: 43 (2011-2012)
Corey Hirsch: 42 (1996-1997)
Markstrom set the Canucks franchise record in his second shutout of the season, and perhaps one of the best performances he’s ever turned in.
Isn’t it fitting that he set a franchise record on a night where his fellow countrymen, who hold countless Canucks records, were in attendance?
“You always want to win,” said Markstrom, “but especially when [the Sedins] have their family and friends and got people flown in from Sweden. You’ve got all these alumni that meant a lot to this city. It’s just great to see those guys, and you want to play good in front of them for sure.”
When Markstrom skated out after receiving first star honours, he also pointed up toward the rafters where the Sedins jerseys hang from, which was very quadsome of him.
4 | He bounced back after three straight losses.
Markstrom certainly wasn’t the reason that the Canucks lost in his three starts prior to the Chicago game, but at any rate, it was important for both him and his team to bounce back in a big way.
The battle for the playoffs in the Pacific Division is rather tight, with just four points separating the first place Edmonton Oilers from the second wild-card spot Arizona Coyotes.
In the middle of that pack is the Vancouver Canucks, who currently sit three points ahead of the second wild card spot, and one point out of first in the Pacific.
Keeping any losing streaks short is extremely important, and the Canucks know that Markstrom will do everything in his power to prevent his team from falling down the standings at this crucial time of the season.