When I first turned on the game to start this recap, the Buffalo Sabres were scoring in the fifth round of the shootout to defeat the Montreal Canadiens. So, that happened. Then I watched some commercials.
Sean Monahan started out the action by directing a shot in the general direction of Devan Dubnyk, but it was deflected into the crowd. Josh Jooris took a stick directly in the mouth courtesy of Mikkel Boedker just behind Dubnyk's crease at the one minute mark. It was good for a four minute power play.
The 'yotes cleared it three times before the Flames really got any good looks on the net. Markus Granlund got a nice shot off a pass from Johnny Gaudreau, but Phoenix cleared it out twice more before Mark Giordano then Dennis Wideman got shots on target, ending with a puck freeze by Dubnyk. Gaudreau got a shot on net, followed by a clear and a shorthanded attempt by Brandon McMillan. Calgary got reset, and after a Jiri Hudler shot, the Coyotes managed to clear it again. Tobias Rieder got another shorthanded shot on goal, and after another Gio shot on goal, the penalty expired as it had started, tied at zero. It was exciting, but fruitless.
At the seven minute mark, Gaudreau started a breakaway, settling on a backhanded shot attempt from point blank which Dubnyk stopped with very little effort. Gaudreau was visibly frustrated by the lack of payoff. The guy hasn't scored a goal in three weeks, and is stuck on three for the year. Brandon Bollig, who has scored a total of seven goals in his career (all last season with the Chicago Blackhawks) was stoned on a shot attempt just a bit later.
TJ Brodie got a lot of mustard on a wrist shot from the blue line at the halfway point, but in the end it was just the seventh shot of the period for the good guys. Still, if they continue to pepper Dubnyk like this, they should finish the night with three or four markers.
Hudler had a pretty nifty steal at center ice at the 12-minute mark, which led to a nice shot by TJ Brodie. Gaudreau sliced a shot at Dubnyk four minutes later from a less-than-appropriate angle, but Devan was holding up well. Ramo was challenged a moment later, but Deryk Engelland blocked a short-range shot attempt from Martin Erat. The period closed with Calgary holding a 12-to-3 shot advantage.
- In case you weren't keeping track, this may be our last chance to catch these guys with moustaches as Movember comes to a close. There's always the playoffs, though...
- Ramo had a 1.50 GAA against the Coyotes coming into tonight's matchup. After one period, it's down to 1.29. In addition, his save percentage is now closing on the number one guy, Jonas Hiller, at .912. Hiller has a mark of .913.
- I've said it before and I hope to say it again soon, Jiri and Johnny have some good chemistry going. The two will combine for 120 points this season, 150 if this luck continues.
- As stated above, Calgary has 12 shots to only three for the Coyotes. Gaudreau and Kris Russell each are equal to the entire Phoenix roster, with three each.
- Only 12 faceoffs through the whole period, with Arizona winning seven of them. Josh Jooris leads the Flames with two wins in four tries.
- Arizona is outhitting Calgary 13-to-eight, while the Flames are edging out the Coyotes in blocked shots, six-to-four. Wideman has two blocks and a hit, David Jones has two hits, and Deryk Engelland has two blocks.
- Calgary had a very efficient period Corsi and Fenwick-wise. The only players to finish at under 50% on Corsi were Sven Baertschi, Bollig, and Raphael Diaz. In eight minutes, Giordano was on ice for 10 Corsi-for and only two-Corsi against events. That's two shots directed at goal. In eight minutes. His Corsi Rel% was an other-worldly 24.51%. I know, small sample size and all that - but these "samples" are adding up, no?
Martin Hanzal stung Ramo with a shot which the netminder deflected off his right shoulderpad just after the start of the period. Gaudreau parked behind Dubnyk for the better part of a minute, dancing with the puck and evading several Coyotes and dishing out to a few Flames for some quality chances.
Hudler fed Brodie with a cross ice pass at the four minute mark to break the seal on the scoreboard. Brodie, on Dubnyk's left, wired the puck over the goalie's right shoulder for the lead. Lance Bouma also earned a helper on the play. A minute later, Bouma carried the puck in and rushed the goaltender, but was pushed into Dubnyk and lost control of the biscuit.
Hudler looked a little slow getting off the ice at the eight minute mark, skating off the ice on his own power for a TV timeout. Connor Murphy really got away with one there, cross checking Hudler in the right kidney. Byron gathered a loose puck for a shot on Dubnyk a moment later, but the goalie froze the puck.
Keith Yandle smoked the puck at Ramo just after the halfway point, but Karri was tracking it all the way. Antoine Vermette had a near breakaway at the 11-minute mark, but Giordano tracked him down and snuffed the play before it had a chance to get dangerous. Ramo turned a couple of more shots away over the next minute.
David Jones had a nice look at the Coyotes net at the 13-minute mark, but the shot was blocked. BJ Crombeen was tripped going for the puck deep in the Calgary zone with just over four minutes left in the period, and Arizona would go on their first man-advantage of the night. Brandon Bollig, the guilty party, could only look on. The Flames penalty kill unit had the Coyotes on their heels, clearing the puck out three times while only Oliver Ekman-Larsson got a shot on Ramo over the first 1:20. The last 40 seconds would really see Ramo tested, with the Coyotes getting three good shots at him before he froze the puck. Calgary won the faceoff, and the teams were back at even strength.
Rieder sliced a shot at Ramo with two minutes left in the period, but Ramo gloved it for his 15th save of the game. McMillan had a great shot a minute later, but Ramo gloved that one, too.
- Advanced stats or not, the Flames are visibly the better team through the first two frames.
- I know we are always singing Johnny Gaudreau's praises, but the kid is really a cut above.
- Ramo-watch: Career goals against average against the Coyotes down to 1.12. Season save percentage up to .917.
- At the second break, the Flames and Coyotes are tied with 18 shots on goal each. Arizona had 15 shots through the frame to only five for Calgary. Tobias Rieder leads all skaters with four. Gaudreau, Russell, and McMillan have three each.
- Arizona is killing it on faceoffs, 19-to-10. The only Flame having a halfway decent night at the dot was Josh Jooris, who won five of 11. Antoine Vermette earned nine wins in 11 tries.
- Arizona led hits 23-to-22, and Calgary led blocks 14-to-12. Wideman has blocked five shots and collected two hits, Russell has three blocks and one hit, and David Jones, Brandon Bollig, and Lance Bouma have four hits each. Michael Stone has blocked five shots for Arizona.
The first two minutes of play didn't see anyone get a clear upper hand. The Flames got set up pretty well after that, but Russell couldn't hold it in the zone. Gaudreau took a pass in the neutral zone and skated in on Dubnyk at the four-minute mark. Despite having a defenceman in his face, he drilled the puck over the goaltender's right shoulder for a 2-0 lead. Hudler and Giordano each had a well-earned assist on the play.
After play resumed, Bollig took the puck right off his face. There was a lot of blood - guy probably had his nose broken, but hey - that's what he's here for, right?
The Coyotes were swarming Ramo at the six-minute mark, but he stood tall, continuing to stymie the ever-more-desperate Arizona team despite the even shot count at that point. Shane Doan and Hanzal each got a pretty good looking shot on the puckmaster.
Michael Ferland (remember him) put the puck on Dubnyk, who gloved it easily at the seven-minute mark. Martin Erat was then sent to the box for hooking. When play started, Wideman held, held, held the puck before shooting, but missed. The Flames took a three goal lead a second later on Jiri Hudler's 11th marker of the season on a backhand putback of a rebound. Sean Monahan and Wideman had the assists on the play.
Gaudreau and company swarmed Dubnyk again with five minutes left in the period, with several almost-goals as the deflated Coyotes visibly stopped trying very hard. Bollig, looking like a plate of scrambled eggs, jumped off the bench with four minutes left and drilled one at Dubnyk, easily saved.
Deryk Engelland slammed Yandle into the post just a bit later, moving the net completely off the magnets. Ramo was stunned on the play somehow, but decided to stick it out for the last three minutes. When play restarted Zbynek Michalek put a point blank shot on what looked like an empty part of the net, but somehow, Ramo slid over and made a kicksave to preserve the shutout.
The Coyotes couldn't get anything rolling, and Ramo earned his second straight shutout a few minutes later.
- After the second and the third goal, there was an audible roar from the away crowd as the fans sounded like they were mixed half and half between the Flames and Coyotes. I know that's not the case, but I like to think that the Flames are huge somewhere in the states.
- Ramo had two shutouts in his first 96 games and two shutouts in his last two. How long until his next? He has a 1.00 GAA career against these guys (who happen to be up next on the schedule) and a .919 season save percentage. Do you think Bob Hartley may put him up again? His shutout streak now stretches back 134 minutes and 63 saves.
- Calgary took 29 shots on the night, to 26 for Arizona. Gaudreau and McMillan had five, while Rieder, Hudler and Wideman had four each.
- Arizona won 32-of-50 faceoffs on the night. The only Flame to win more than 50%? Paul Byron, who won his only attempt. Markus Granlund needs a lot of work at the dot, earning three wins in 15 tries.
- Calgary won hits 39-to-34 and blocks 26-to-16. Wideman had five of each. David Jones had seven hits, Glencross had three each, Bouma had a block and five hits, Bollig had five hits, and Russell had four blocks and a hit. It was a great effort all around as the guys really pulled together for Ramo.
Flame of the Game
A lot of Flames really stepped up. Even Bollig really added something tonight. Hudler, Brodie and Gaudreau were awesome, Wideman was more than solid, and Giordano was just himself. Still, I have to give it to Karri Ramo. Not all the saves he made were challenging, but boy, is he on a roll. Hartley is going to have a hard time starting Hiller in the next game. You gotta play the hot hand.
Make sure to check back in the morning for the advanced statistical recap, and tune in on Tuesday when we try to go three-for-three against the Coyotes. For more on Arizona, go to Five For Howling.