The Calgary Flames were hoping to slow the playoff advance of the New York Rangers as they welcomed their Gotham contemporaries to the Saddledome tonight. In the end, the Flames would prevail 4-3 on the backs of Rämö (really good) and Lundqvist (not so good).
There was a lot of early action tonight – pretty sloppy, in fact – but as the game went on the two teams would gain more control of themselves and their play. The neutral zone battle was dominated by the Flames in the first, but it was one of the few areas where the Flames would outplay the Rangers.
Just five minutes in, Derek Dorsett would take a debatable penalty and the Flames capitalized on the opportunity as Curtis Glencross rocketed a shot off of the crossbar and out – right onto Joe Colborne’s stick, and the young winger would put it by an unfortunately positioned Henrik Lundqvist for his 10th of the season. Marty St. Louis looked to tie it just two minutes later but after further review it was determined that he kicked the puck in with his skate, which was absolutely the right call. The Rangers would continue to pressure throughout the period, with a couple of scrums that required a few beauties from Karri Rämö (who had a hell of a period) to keep the Flames up by one. Calgary would add a few more chances before the end of the frame, and although they were unable to match the total output by the Rangers in the frame shot-wise, Mark Giordano would make up for it with his 13th of the year with about three minutes left. Shots in the period were 18-10 for the Rangers, 18-7 at even strength.
Carrying a two-goal lead into the second period in the Sutter era meant you were about to see 40 minutes of terrible defensive “shell” hockey. For better or worse (usually better), Hartley’s Flames are not like that. Tonight was one of the “worse” nights: the Rangers would come out with the same ferocity that they ended the first with and pummelled Rämö with shots – and the dam broke. Three quick New York goals came in succession, as Brian Boyle, Raphael Diaz and Brad Richards would all score about 3 minutes apart to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Giordano got beat pretty bad on the first one. The Flames would push back, as Kevin Westgarth (?) scored his 3rd (?!) of the season with about 4 minutes left in the period and Mike Cammalleri would leave it until the final seconds to pot his 24th of the year – putting him on a 35-goal pace over 82 games. Shots in the period were 12-12, all at evens.
The final frame was punctuated by a lack of whistles in the early going; play was stopped just twice in the first seven or so minutes. Turns out that wasn’t a good thing for the Flames, as Rämö had to be fantastic in order for the Flames to remain up by a goal. St. Louis had another great chance and probably should have put one by the Flames’ goaltender as he was sprawled across the ice – but Rämö got back across his crease and absolutely robbed him. The majority of the play continued in the Flames end, as they only managed 6 shots in the first 15 minutes – but the fort was held and St. Louis would take a penalty with just 250 seconds remaining, sealing the fate of the Rangers. Shots in the period were 11-9, 9-7 at even strength.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Honestly, I had this given out by the end of the first. Karri Rämö continues to provide some of the best goaltending we’ve seen for the Flames since 2004 and 2006 Kiprusoff. He made 18 stops in the first alone – at least ten of which were ten-bell chances. He was, and continues to be excellent – he is now sporting a .922 EVSV% on the season, which puts him in “above-average” territory. Mark Giordano and Mike Cammalleri also had good games.
Why the Flames Won
“They drew first blood, not me”
“Actually Karri, we scored first…”
“They drew first blood” pic.twitter.com/8I1zzA7j7Z
— The Book of Loob (@bookofloob) March 29, 2014
Lundqvist was pretty bad, too.
Sum it Up
There’s there no way to understate this: Rämö performed Grand Theft tonight in stealing this game for the Flames. It was exciting to watch, but not for the right reasons: New York controlled play for about 50 of the 60 minutes we watched. Always nice to see a win, though. The Flames are back in action on Sunday, when they travel to Ottawa for a matinee matchup.