Darryl Sutter says Stars goalie Jake Oettinger shouldn’t be overlooked

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The Calgary Flames don’t buy into the idea that Jake Oettinger’s inexperience in the playoffs represents some sort of massive disadvantage to the Dallas Stars.

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When Flames head coach Darryl Sutter was asked about the Stars’ young goaltender this weekend ahead of the puck drop in their first-round playoff Tuesday night (8 p.m. MT, CBC/ Sportsnet West, Sportsnet 960 The Fan), he had nothing but praise for Oettinger.

In fact, he went so far as to say that the goalie matchup between Oettinger and Flames star goaltender Jacob Markstrom was pretty much a washout.

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Coming from Sutter, that means a lot. Especially for Oettinger.

“It’s great, obviously,” Oettinger said. “He’s been around a long time and seen a lot of goalkeepers, and obviously Markstrom is a hell of a goalkeeper, so anytime you’re in a category with a guy like that, it’s obviously nice. And it’s not just me versus him there, it’s a lot more complex than that.

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“It’s going to be a great series, and I’m going to have to be at my best in all the series. »

At first glance, there seems to be no doubt that the Flames have the advantage when it comes to goaltenders in this series.

Oettinger exceeded all expectations in his first long spell as a starter. When injuries to Braden Holtby and Anton Khubodin forced him into action, he posted a 2.53 goals-against average and .914 save percentage while winning 30 games in 46 starts . His numbers may have gone down a bit over time, but he’s been very good for the Stars.

But Markstrom has been a world beater for the Flames this season. As good as any NHL goaltender.

However, the way Markstrom plays will have little to no impact on Oettinger’s performance.

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“It doesn’t really affect me at all,” Oettinger said. “Obviously I just have to focus on what I’m doing. I don’t really play against him there, so I’m just going to focus on what makes me successful and go from there. I can’t wait for this series to start. »

Wherever the pundits believe the advantage lies with the goalie when the Flames and Stars begin their first-round series on Tuesday, the Dallas team is confident in what they’ll get between the posts.

“He’s strong mentally, when he’s had some rough nights he’s bounced back,” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said. “Markstrom has a lot more experience than Jake in this area. That being said, we have full faith in Jake and will help him deal with it.

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