We learned some things tonight folks. We learned that Ben Bishop probably shouldn’t be allowed to handle the puck. We also learned, and are continuing to learn down the stretch, that Karro Ramo is capable of stealing games for the Flames as he did tonight.
The Flames won 4-1 on the strength of two quick first period goals and some very good goaltending despite being outplayed for virtually the whole game. It feels good beating the Lightning but I don’t want to talk about why okay? So don’t you dare bring it up in the comments…
Read all about the game after the jump.
The first started relatively unassumingly with both teams playing like two teams that don’t see each other very often. Seven minutes in after a defensive lapse from Russell and Butler, Ramo stopped J.T Brown on a breakaway on Tampa’s best chance of the early first. It was around this time that the Lightning broadcast mentioned that Van Brabant was a very inexperienced defenseman for the Flames. I suppose that’s true.
Things picked up after that. Ten minutes in, Ben Bishop put an absolutely perfect pass on Mike Cammalleri’s tape who fired it into an open net for his 25th goal of the season. After three or four replays, I am still not sure just what the hell Bishop was thinking but either way I am sure Cammalleri will take it. Just 15 seconds later, Bishop tried to ring the puck around the boards which led to another turnover and a goal by the now absolutely, for sure, unquestioningly, soon-to-be-resigned Kevin Westgarth for his fourth of the season (one less than Clarkson). Flames up 2-0.
After the second Flames goal, the Lightning realized that the game had actually started and began taking the play to the Flames. However, the Flames were able to hold the Lightning off and get into the dressing room up two-zip.
26 seconds into the second period, T.J Brodie cross-checked Killorn and gave the Lightning the first powerplay of the game. The Flames were largely able to hold the Lightning to no good chances and were able to kill it off without much danger. The early part of the second was dominated by the Lightning including Ryan Callahan somehow missing an open net after Filppula put it through Ramo.
Overall, I thought Filppula looked great for the Lightning all game, continuing the unbelievable season he is having. I saw this on twitter earlier in the week and it’s completely true, can you imagine how much better the Wings would be if they had chosen to re-sign Filppula rather than entering the free-agent market with Weiss?
Seven minutes into the second, Alex Killorn held Cammalleri and sent the Flames to their first man advantage of the game. The Flames got reasonably good pressure off the first faceoff of the PP, but never really managed to regain offensive possession of the puck. Zone entries on the powerplay have frankly been brutal for the Flames this whole season, especially on the road where the entire powerplay has been doo-doo.
Halfway through the second, Chris Butler took a slashing penalty and sent the Lightning back to the man advantage. The Flames were close to their 13th short-handed goal of the season when Colborne put a nice pass on Monahan’s stick but Bishop turned it aside. The Flames killed off the penalty again without many chances for the Bolts.
It looked like the Flames were going to be able to get to the room up two goals but with four minutes to go in the second, the Flames got caught making a bad clearance and Butler got caught, well, playing hockey and Palat was able to bring the Lightning within one. That was Palat’s 20th goal and 54th (!) point of the season for the 23 year old. The Lightning really dominated the remainder of the period and Ramo made a great point-blank save with under 20 seconds to go to preserve the one goal lead heading into the third.
The Bolts started the third the way they ended the second, by completely dominating play against the Flames. The Flames were hanging by a thread. As a result, Giordano took a tripping penalty and sent the Lightning back to the man advantage. However, the Flames showed some great poise and killed off another fairly uneventful Tampa man advantage.
The vast majority of the third period was played in the Flames end and it looked ugly for Calgary. The Flames basically decided that they were going to go as far as Ramo would let them in this one, and he stole it for them. With about three minutes to go, Stamkos rang one off the post on one of Tampa’s many chances of the game. Then, with two minutes and 19 seconds to go, Eric “Still in the NHL” Brewer took a tripping penalty and sent the Flames to the PP to mop up the rest of the game.
Rather than just running out the clock, the Flames had one of their best entries of the whole game and had Glencross find Cammalleri who took a low shot that was kicked back to Glencross who iced the game for the Flames. Glencross would then take the puck off of Matt Carle neatly for an empty netter which is a pretty rare occasion for the Flames. The shots finished 32-25 for Tampa Bay and Ramo .
THE RED WARRIOR
I thought T.J Galiardi had a pretty okay night despite not exactly being given great linemates. After rough nights against the Leafs, I thought Giordano and Brodie were solid again and generated some of the precious little offence that the Flames had all night. Glencross had a couple of goals but one was an empty netter and one was in the final moments on the powerplay. Backlund had four shots tonight but wasn’t really that much of an offensive force. Still, it just illustrates his ability to consistently generate offence even if he wasn’t all a major factor.
The clear choice tonight was Karri Ramo who stole this game for the Flames. The Lightning were in control of the game for almost the entire 60 minutes and Ramo was the reason that the Flames came away with two points. Good on him against his former club.
SUM IT UP
The Flames won a game that they probably didn’t deserve to tonight against a superior opposition with a barely NHL-level roster and they have their goalie to thank. I think Ramo’s play in this late part of the season is surely enough to give him a pretty good shot at being the starter heading into camp next year.
On another note, man, Tampa has some good young players don’t they?
The Flames are right back at it tomorrow against the Panthers. It’s another 5:30 MT start and you can watch the game on SNET – West.