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Flames Prove Ramo-Tough, Defeat Sharks, 2-0

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The Flames took down the Sharks, 2-0 with two goals from Jiri Hudler and an inspired effort from Karri Ramo.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

Just a minute into it, John Gaudreau fed Kris Russell right in front of a wide open cage for a great chance but Russell was knocked onto his butt. The puck was bounced around a bit before Gaudreau got it back and had his own chance a moment later, but the Flames were still not successful.

So...guess who had a slight breakaway onto Antti Niemi at the five minute mark. Yeah, Paul Byron. The puck was gloved and play frozen. Tommy Wingels fed Brenden Dillon at point blank, I mean he was standing in the crease with Karri Ramo. Probably should have been a penalty, but no harm was done.

Brent Burns had a moment there when he broke in on Ramo all by himself, but the puck was steered wide. Jiri Hudler and Gaudreau had a pretty sweet give-and-go a few moments later to no avail.

Brandon Bollig was called for roughing Andrew Desjardins with just over two minutes remaining, and continues to lead the Flames in penalty minutes. The ensuing power play (Sharks have an NHL fourth-best mark of 23.3% coming into tonight's matchup) was characterized by San Jose getting two shots on Ramo and the Flames failing to clear it for the first minute before Brett Burns earned a penalty of his own for intereference. The rest of the period would play out mostly four-on-four. Monahan got the puck into San Jose's zone very nicely, and held it despite being outnumbered four-to-one. I was wondering where the rest of the Flames were as Bollig's penalty expired and Calgary had a 20-second five-on-four. Nothing happened, and the period ended as it started, with zeroes on both sides.

Stray Thoughts

  • Adirondack won their ninth game in a row tonight, 3-2 over the Toronto Marlies. Ben Hanowski scored two goals for the now 12-6-1 baby Flames. Yup, the future is looking good.
  • Dennis Wideman and Dillon got into a slight shoving match with about three minutes left in the frame, right in front of Ramo, but there really doesn't seem to be a lot of bad blood between these two clubs, at least not yet.
  • The Sharks led with 11 shots on goal to nine for the Flames, led by Logan Couture's three, while the Flames took the faceoff battle, 10-9. Monahan, as usual, led the way by winning six in nine tries.
  • The Flames outhit San Jose 11-10 and outblocked them, 8-5. Ladislav Smid had three hits, and Mark Giordano blocked two shots with one hit.
  • Of all people, Ladislav Smid was the Flames' best Corsi guy, finishing with plus-2, while Kris Russell, who played almost twice as much, was sitting at minus-5. It was clearly a period which belonged to San Jose, which is no surprise. Calgary often cedes the first period or two to their opponent before taking the third period more seriously. I'm just happy they didn't allow a goal this time.
  • Dennis Wideman led all skaters by staying on the ice for over nine minutes.

Second Period

The period opened up with a 30-ish second power play, which almost started to look good until Gaudreau uncharacteristically lost the handle on the puck. Burns jumped out of the box when it expired, and caught an uprush pass for a near-breakaway, but our man Russell was there to foil him.

Lance Bouma danced into the Sharks' zone with five minutes gone, trying to avoid the Flames' getting called for icing, he fed a streaking Brandon Bollig (!), who couldn't get the biscuit past Niemi. Less than a minute later, Gaudreau dished the puck across the ice to Hudler again, who had a clear path to the net but didn't get enough mustard on the puck to drive it home. Play was stopped, and eight of the 12 players on the ice tangled up. When the smoke cleared, TJ Brodie and Wingels were sitting in the box for two minutes each - roughing was the call.

For the four-on-four, Patrick Marleau struck first with a slapshot from six feet away but was denied by a frisky looking Ramo. The Sharks got the better of it, earning three shots on goal to zero for the Flames.

Markus Granlund streaked into the zone stole the puck off the stick of a Shark just as the guy was winding up for a 12-footer on Ramo.

Tomas Hertl made a truly epic move to nearly fool Ramo, but was tripped trying to get a shot off. Mark Giordano was called for tripping at the 11:30 mark for a Sharks power play. Marleau beat Ramo but wasn't good enough to beat the crossbar 30 seconds into it. The Sharks kept it in the zone with a live puck for the first 1:04 before Ramo could freeze the damn thing. After the next faceoff, the Flames finally cleared it out of the zone. Matthew Nieto got a nice shot on Ramo after the Sharks got reset, but Ramo was still matching Niemi.

Marleau took a huge cut on a one-timer with five minutes left in the period, but didn't score. David Jones took it the other way, getting behind the defence and getting a pretty nice shot on Niemi.

Pavelski and Curtis Glencross got called for duel roughing penalties with four minutes left. Hudler and Russell looked like all-stars dancing around the Sharks. Calgary wouldn't let San Jose out of their own zone. TJ Brodie eventaully hit Hudler with a centering pass, and Hudler (9) opened the scoring with two and a half minutes left in the period, beating Niemi five-hole. The four-on-four continued for a few more seconds afterward. It was Brodie's 14th assist of the campaign.

Stray Thoughts

  • If you can remember next time you're watching this team, just concentrate on Gaudreau's footwork. His feet are just MOVING faster than anyone else's.
  • It's really amazing that the Adirondack version of the Flames is doing as well as it is, considering that we have most of their best guys on our roster. Maybe some of them are not their best guys anymore, but our third and fourth liners. (Looking at you, Jooris, Baertschi, Granlund, and Ferland).
  • Puck possession can't look very good for Calgary right now. Through the first 15 minutes of the second period the Sharks outshot the Flames 8-to-2.
  • Why are there disgusting pathetic Oilers fans watching the Flames play in San Jose? I guess if I was from Edmonton and found myself and a bunch of buddies in San Jose, I'd probably go watch, too. No shame in that, I think.
  • Calgary - scored first?
  • San Jose had 22 shots on Ramo, and Ramo had 22 saves. Meanwhile, the Flames had 15 shots on Niemi. Couture led everyone with six, and Hudler led the Flames with three.
  • The Sharks led the faceoff metric 27-to-21, led by Joe Thornton's 13-for-21 performance. Monahan is still above the watermark, winning 12-of-22.
  • Calgary leads hits 15-to-12 and blocked shots 19-to-12, Brodie has four blocked shots, Russell has three blocks and two hits, and Smid has laid out four Sharks in total.
  • Aside from the 1-0 bottom line, the Sharks have completely controlled play, out-corsi-ing Calgary 47-34 and out-fenwick-ing them 27-22. Thank goodness we have some champion shot-blockers on this squad.

Third Period

Monahan coughed it up to Pavelski right in front of Ramo just three minutes into the final frame, but Ramo kicked it aside for his 23rd save. Baertschi fooled Niemi on a backhand at the five minute mark, but was stopped by the crossbar.

Calgary visibly woke up in the third period. Outhustling the Sharks for loose pucks and staying with the play even after encountering temporary setbacks. Pavelski got a chance on Ramo at the nine-minute mark. The puck bounced high in the air right in front of the crease, but TJ Brodie gloved it down and shot it out of the zone to preserve the shutout.

The Sharks had a two-on-one a minute later, but again Brodie was the hero of the day, dropping to the ice to block a centering pass which may have fooled a slightly out of position Ramo. Hertl tried to stuff one by Ramo at the 13-minute mark, but the netminder had his skate directly on the post. Monahan answered with a breakaway, which Niemi was equal to.

With about four minutes left in regulation, the Sharks seemed to redouble their efforts to get one past Ramo. Once the Flames got down in the Sharks' zone, Gaudreau collected the puck behind Niemi's net, and skated around with it for a bit. After the two minute mark passed, Markus Granlund drew a penalty from Justin Braun while driving for the net. It was a bad time for the Sharks to get a penalty called, and almost guaranteed a Calgary win.

Just to skate at even strength, the Sharks would have to pull their goaltender, but the Flames would not let the Sharks out of their zone for the first minute. As soon as they finally cleared, Niemi left the crease and Hudler capitalized, scoring an empty netter for his 10th of the season and second of the game. Sean Monahan earned his seventh assist of the season.

Stray Thoughts

  • The Flames are very well known for coming back in the third period, winning five games where they have trailed after two. Conversely, they have yet to lose when winning after two, going 5-0-0 coming into this one.
  • Every game, and I do mean every single game, I'm utterly convinced that this will be the game that we get a shutout. Almost every time, I'm disappointed. Not so tonight.
  • Russell and Wideman deserve a lot of credit tonight. They passed the eye-test as good as did Brodie and Giordano. Of course, the whole team deserves credit when holding the opponent to zero.
  • Ramo saved 32 shots, while the Flames only took 19 on the night. Hudler and Wideman had four each, Couture had six for the Sharks.
  • San Jose won 38 faceoffs out of 62. The only Calgary player who won above 50% of his faceoffs was Lance Bouma, who took two-of-three. Monahan won 15-of-31, and Jooris won a disappointing five-of-20.
  • Calgary outhit San Jose 22-to-18 and out-blocked them 30-to-14. Brodie blocked six all by himself, Bollig collected five hits, and Smid had four.
  • Corsi stood in San Jose's favour by a 71-to-44 margin, while Fenwick finished in the Shark's favour 41-to-29.

Flame of the Game

Gaudreau was a whirling dervish, as always, and TJ Brodie was predictably brilliant. Hudler finished the night with two goals, but when in doubt, it's always safe to pick the guy who didn't allow any goals. Karri Ramo stopped 32 San Jose shots, some of them of the highlight reel variety. It was his fifth win of the season and his third career shutout. It raised his save percentage from .898 to .910. For contrast, Jonas Hiller is sitting pretty at .913.

Next up for the Flames, a visit to Phoenix to face off with the Coyotes, Saturday night at 7PM. Check back here tomorrow for the advanced statistical breakdown.