Jacob Markstrom makes puck-playing blunder, recovers for insane stick save in season debut

Vancouver Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom saw his first action of 2015-16 Tuesday and made an absolutely insane stick save on Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno. After misplaying the puck, Markstrom was forced to dive back into his net and deflect Foligno’s shot at the empty net out of the way.

Buffalo Sabres netminder Chad Johnson kicked off Tuesday’s action with a miraculous glove stop on Nikita Kucherov, but Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom did him one better.

In the third period of Tuesday’s game between the Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets, and with the score deadlocked at two, Markstrom made a terrible mistake playing the puck. With the Blue Jackets entering the zone, Markstrom threw the puck across the ice and into traffic, where it landed right on the stick of Columbus’ Nick Foligno. In an instant, the puck was off Foligno’s stick and hurtling towards the net when Markstrom dove back with his paddle and turned the puck aside:

The stop was a crucial one, too. Minutes later, Blue Jackets right winger Cam Atkinson would bury a shorthanded goal, but because of Markstrom’s stop earlier in the frame, the game was still within reach. The Canucks proceeded to rattle off three straight markers — the game-tying goal from Henrik Sedin, game-winner from Brandon Sutter and insurance tally by Sedin for his second of the night — to take a 5-3 victory in a contest where Markstrom earned the first star.

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In the contest, Markstrom turned aside 42 of 45 shots, including all 34 shots he faced at even strength. Until Tuesday night, Markstrom hadn’t suited up for a game this season. He had missed the first 15 games of the campaign with a hamstring injury and, subsequently, a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Utica Comets.

Markstrom’s performance in the AHL in 2014-15 made the Canucks ship out backup netminder Eddie Lack in the off-season to the Carolina Hurricanes. Markstrom posted a 22-7-1 record with Utica this past season to go along with a 1.88 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. He also helped lead the Comets to the Calder Cup final, where the club was downed by 2014-15 AHL juggernaut and eventual Calder Cup champions, the Manchester Monarchs.