Coming off a hard fought moral victory, and what was apparently a lackadaisical practice, the Calgary
Flames Ramos had to be ready to host the New York Rangers if they wanted to win and keep the good feelings going.
The scoring opened when Derek Dorsett was called for a cross check on Chris Butler. It took most of the powerplay, and Curtis Glencross ringing it off the post, but off the ensuing scramble TJ Brodie grabbed the puck and deftly passed it over to Joe Colborne, who sniped it home for his tenth of the season.
Not too long after, it looked like the Rangers had tied it when a scramble in the Flames' end led to Martin St. Louis putting the puck past Ramo. But! It was ruled that the former Lightning player kicked the puck in, and so, St. Louis still has yet to score as a Ranger.
The Rangers weren't happy with that, but Karri Ramo didn't care as he made an insane series of saves, probably using whatever crazy Finnish goalie gene he has to somehow keep the puck out.
When the Flames were able to enter the Rangers' zone again, they made it count. Mike Cammalleri slid the puck over to Mark Giordano, who shot it in off the post, giving the Flames a two-goal lead. It was Giordano's 44th point of the season: a new career high.
And then, because he's the greatest, Gio almost scored again.
The period closed with some more absolutely insane saves by Ramo, as he stopped all 18 of the Rangers' shots, including a few that looked like sure things.
The second period began with no Ladislav Smid, as the Flames defenceman left the game with an upper body injury. He did not return.
Sadly, Ramo's heroics could not last forever, and eventually, the Rangers would have to score.
A missed check by Gio - who is still the greatest, just not always - allowed Dorsett to slip through. Brian Boyle was left alone at the side of the Flames' net, and once Dorsett got the puck to him, it was an easy tap-in.
Right after, a shot from the point by Raphael Diaz went off Kenny Agostino, off Tyler Wotherspoon, and in as the Rangers tied the game at 2.
And the Rangers still weren't done. Carl Hagelin went in with Brad Richards, and Richards was able to snipe it in, marking the Rangers' third goal in just 3:27.
Ramo was, however, able to stop the bleeding. He only had to wait until... Kevin Westgarth? ... ... yup, Kevin Westgarth tied it back up.
2 goals and 3 points in 4 games for Kevin Westgarth. #Flames.— Randy Sportak (@SUNRandySportak) March 29, 2014
With just eight seconds left in the period, the Flames retook the lead. Butler, at his own blueline, kicked the puck up to Cammalleri, who sniped it fivehole on Henrik Lundqvist to put the Flames up 4-3.
Like the second period against the Ducks, the third period against the Rangers was all Ramo. The teams traded chances, of which the Rangers had significantly more, considering how halfway through the period the Flames had only managed to get one shot on the Rangers' net.
In the end, though, Ramo did what he needed to do. The game concluded when St. Louis was called for holding Giordano with just over two minutes to go, pretty much ending his team's chance at a comeback as the Flames won in their 45th one-goal game of the season.
- One game after Brian McGrattan set a career high in goals, Kevin Westgarth did the same with his third of the year. Sportsnet showed Brian Burke - who traded for Westgarth in his first move since firing Feaster - after the goal, and he looked unhappy. Why? Does he support the tank? Does he think Westgarth should have more goals by now? Is he just being Brian Burke? It's probably the last one.
- With Smid only playing in the first period, one might have expected Wotherspoon's ice time to go up, but he was held to just 15:43 (which is still a lot for a rookie!) while Butler hit 22:39 on the night, Kris Russell and Giordano clocking in over 24 minutes, and TJ Brodie taking the lead with 27:30.
- Let's talk some more about Brodie. He played the most minutes, got two assists (the first a quick thinking play, the second the one that led to the game-tying goal), and in a night in which the Flames got horribly outshot, continued to prove himself as one of the Flames' best defencemen.
- The other, of course, is Mark Giordano, who has been nothing short of revelatory this year. While one gaffe led to a goal against, he more than made up for it by stopping other chances, and scoring his own with an absolutely perfect shot. He's one of the best point per game defencemen in the NHL this season (.79 PPG - second in the league, behind only Erik Karlsson), all the while being an absolute rock on the Flames' backend, and one of the biggest reasons why they've been able to play such entertaining hockey. Seriously, who saw this coming?
- If you want to win, put in a Finn. Despite how great Brodie and Giordano may be, the Flames really had no business winning this one, but they did thanks to the efforts of Karri Ramo. The Rangers got 41 shots on him and he stopped 38 of them for a .927 save percentage, including several sequences where the Rangers had multiple chances to put the puck in the net and he just would not let them. Well-earned, and hopefully he'll build off performances like this one when he's back next season. The Flames just might have a netminder.
The Flames are off to the east for a five-game road swing. First up is a Sunday afternoon game in Ottawa. Puck drop is at 3:00 p.m. MT.