Tonight is the beginning of a long road trip for the Flames, as they were kicked out of the Saddledome for the Tim Horton's Brier. They also enter the road trip on the outside looking in on the playoff race, as the Minnesota Wild were able to slide into the second wildcard spot on Sunday.
The last time they played the Rangers, Karri Ramo got pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots, and Rick Nash potted two in a 5-2 win for the team from New York. Ramo will get the start again tonight - let's hope he fares a bit better.
Last minute line changes before the game: Mason Raymond went home for the expected birth of his child, so Emile Poirier is slotting in for his NHL debut! Bob Hartley smartened up and put Michael Ferland in for Brandon Bollig. Also, Rick Nash is out due to neck spasms/illness. That's good news for the Flames!
Good ol' Curtis Glencross - don't you want him on your team? He's not afraid to take a penalty, as he's caught hooking Chris Kreider on a shot that's saved by Ramo.
Overall, a good penalty kill by the Flames with two shots allowed on net. There was an early chance that provided J.T. Miller with a rebound off the post and looking at an empty net. BUT HERE COMES RAMO! It's a save you've got to see to believe and is reminiscent of the forever amazing, Miikka Kiprusoff:
After that, the powerplay carried on with quite a few shorthanded rushes for the Flames - courtesy of TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund, and Lance Bouma. The first two were poke-checked by the mini Martin St. Louis, and Bouma just got tied up.
And let's not forget Poirier and Ferland's first shift. Ferland - showing already that he's an upgrade on Bollig - cycled the puck around the Rangers net and threw the puck to Poirier for a decent shot.
No scoring in the first, but it was fun hockey to watch with the puck going both ways. Johnny Gaudreau was able to chase down a couple of icings for the Flames, and the entire team had some awesome fore-checking and pressure toward the end of the period.
The Rangers out-shot and out-Corsi'd the Flames, 10-7 and 26-13, respectively. but let's not forget, the Flames out-blocked the Rangers 11-2. Very important.
Miller, whose name keeps coming up tonight, had a good chance as he worked his way behind Raphael Diaz. Luckily, Deryk Engelland (yes, you read that right) laid out a huge check on him before he got a shot off.
Poirier is looking good, and fast. He got his own breakaway and was chased (and not tripped?) by Ryan McDonagh. Too bad, that would have been something.
Ramo (and Cam Talbot, I guess) looked good in the first two periods. Exactly what he needed. He had another great glove save on Mats Zuccarello. He also showed some great positioning on a puck that deflected off of Miller's foot and would have been a goal if Ramo wasn't glued to the post.
Ferland, wanting to prove that he's a great replacement for Bollig, dropped the gloves, went against Miller, and won. Not sure what set them off as there was no shoving or contact. Maybe they just wanted to show off to their coaches.
In what Ari is referring to as 'the worst 3-on-1 ever,' Brodie carried the puck up with Sean Monahan and Gaudreau. Too bad Monahan couldn't keep the puck on his stick, while skating straight. Yeah. Can't always be a winner.
Scoreless after two periods, the Rangers again out-shot and out-Corsi'd, 9-8 and 18-14. At least the second was a bit closer..
The Rangers were the first to strike. A terrible 'pass' by Dennis Wideman was 'intercepted' by Derick Brassard, who made a real pass to Kevin Hayes for a goal.
After that, the Rangers basically ran with the lead.
Monahan got called for interference (?) in what continued to be a rough night for the Flames, who couldn't catch a break (I mean, really, Poirier wasn't tripped?).
The Flames added to their club record streak of 11 games without allowing a PP goal, only allowing two shots yet again. Miller (again) had a deflection that could have caught Ramo, but didn't. What did, was a pass from Zuccarello to Hayes, which put Ramo on the ice and almost led to Hayes' second of the game. If it wasn't for Wideman.
No, you did not redeem yourself. But thanks.
The second half of the period got really intense, though I think it may have felt like that because the announcers voices went up at least two pitches. But there was a bit of back and forth and a few chances either way too.
By the end, the Calgary Third Periods tried, and couldn't make anything happen. Definitely not a great game for the Flames as they handed Talbot his fourth shutout of the season, and seventh career.
The Flames fell 1-0, while also being out-shot and out-Corsi'd, 29-21 and 61-40.
- ALL ROOKIE LINE. The line of Ferland - Markus Granlund - Poirier looked pretty good tonight. Poirier had some chances in his NHL debut, and Ferland showed us we don't need Bollig. They spent their ice time pretty evenly divided between all six defencemen.
- Ken Taylor was in the seats tonight and got a hefty applause from the mostly American crowd. He was formerly the Canadian ambassador to Iran, and is best known for his role in the covert opertion, "Canadian Caper," in 1979 - otherwise known as the movie Argo.
- The game wasn't the greatest, but on the bright side, there was an ad for Cholula hot sauce in the arena that kept catching my eye.
Flame of the Game:
Pretty simple. This was Karri Ramo's game, despite allowing the one goal, which should be more on the misplay by Wideman. He made 28 saves for a save percentage of 0.966. Not to mention a few saves that should be rewatched. Seriously, scroll back up and watch the save in the first again. And again. Keep going.