Oettinger: 'I've never been more motivated' after Game 7 loss

Cooper Neill / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger was stellar all series long against the Calgary Flames, but he somehow saved his best performance for Game 7.

For Oettinger, his 64-save gem in his team's season-ending loss is the type of standard he sets for himself.

"Everyone needs to step up in the playoffs. I think you can have a great regular season and then not play well in the playoffs, and it doesn't matter to anyone," Oettinger told reporters after Sunday's 3-2 overtime defeat, per Bally Sports Southwest. "I'm happy that I was able to elevate my game. ... That's the level of goaltending I expect from myself, and I think I can be a great goalie for a long time."

He continued, "I've never been more motivated than I am right now. I'm gonna do everything I can to make sure I get this opportunity again, and I'll make sure I'm on the other side of it the next time."

Oettinger's ridiculous .954 save percentage leads all goaltenders who played at least 60 minutes in the 2022 postseason. He also paces the league in goals saved above average (9.07) and goals saved above expected (10.74) at all strengths by a long shot, according to Evolving-Hockey.

The gravity of the 23-year-old's performance wasn't lost on Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.

"He was the best player in this series, that's for sure," he said.

Jacob Markstrom, the goalie at the other end of the ice, also made sure to give Oettinger some props in the handshake line after the game.

"He said it was a fun battle and that I had a bright future," Oettinger said. "Obviously, he's a heck of a goalie, and it was fun for me to be able to square up against a Vezina Trophy finalist."

Though the Stars' offseason has just begun, Oettinger is ready to refocus for his next NHL season.

"I have a lot of stuff I want to work on. I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of where I'm gonna be one day. That really excites me."

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Oettinger: 'I've never been more motivated' after Game 7 loss
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