The Battle of Alberta isn’t quite what it used to be. Tonight’s clash between last year’s 27th and 28th ranked teams in the National Hockey League might as well have derisively been called the “Battle of LOL-Berta.” Well, it may have been ugly at times, and the Flames were on their heels for the first 40 minutes (or so), but they managed to persevere and grinded out a 5-2 victory in Rexall Place over the hometown Edmonton Oilers by the sheer greatness of Karri Ramo.
It was the 108th time the Flames have beaten the Oilers in the regular season, and after the missed opportunities last evening at home, the Flames are likely very happy to leave Edmonton with some points.
The Oilers carried the play for much of the first 20 minutes. They dominated in shots (14-7) and shot attempts (26-10). Unfortunately, the Flames were much more opportunistic than they were last evening – capitalizing on a pair of chances in a 60-second span in the Oilers zone to go up 2-0 despite playing fairly “meh” to that point. Mason Raymond generated a turnover on the forecheck and fed Mark Giordano at the high slot, who slapped it home for the 1-0 lead. (The NHL changed this to Raymond’s goal, but I couldn’t see a tip. Who knows?) A minute later, the Paul Byron/Sean Monahan duo generated another loose puck in the Oilers zone, with Hudler getting a feed from Monahan for his second such goal in two games and a 2-0 lead. The Flames got shelled late, and Teddy Purcell converted on a mid-period man advantage shot that eluded Karri Ramo that made it 2-1 after 20.
The second was pretty ugly for Calgary. The Oilers pressed a lot. They generated a lot of chances. They generated a lot of shots. They had a 5-on-3 power-play and tied the game when Taylor Hall rifled one past Ramo. It could’ve been a lot worse. The Oilers led in shots 11-4 and shot attempts 27-12. Karri Ramo? Full marks.
The third was basically two periods. The first half featured more or less a continuation of the second period, in that the Oilers were content to out-work the Flames and let the boys in red weep with terror. And then in the latter part of the period, the Oilers got tired and the Flames found their legs, and suddenly everything just flipped. The big turning point was Mason Raymond’s game-winning goal. He collected a neutral zone pass, sped into the Oilers zone cleanly and wired a shot past Ben Scrivens. From that point on, the Flames out-chanced the Oilers 8-4 and Dallas Eakins had the demeanour of a man headed to the proverbial gallows. Joe Colborne set up Raymond for either his second (or third) goal of the night, with a gorgeous pass that Raymond tapped home while being tied up by an Oilers player with basically one hand on his stick. T.J. Brodie made it 5-2 on a really nice pass from Curtis Glencross on a play where Glencross and Backlund each had three or four whacks at the puck. The Oilers led in shot attempts 22-17 overall, but shots were even at 15-15 and in the only metric that mattered (goals), Calgary led 3-0 and won the hockey game.
WHY THE FLAMES WON
Karri Ramo was really great when the rest of the team wasn’t, and the team managed to out-work the Oilers in the third. I mean, Calgary played a tough game last night and lost, yet still had enough in the tank in the third period to pull away.
Oh, and the team was able to make the most of their (relatively) few chances.
Karri Ramo made 38 saves. He was excellent, especially in the first 40 minutes.
And hey, Mason Raymond and Joe Colborne each had three points. By sheer coincidence, they’re both from the Calgary-area, which proves that Calgary is superior to Edmonton. At least at hockey. At least tonight.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
SUM IT UP
The Flames have clawed their way back to .500 and sit with a 1-1-0 record with 80 games remaining. They hit the road for real after tonight, with a game against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night representing the first massive test for this group.
I would presume Karri Ramo gets the start, but I really have no insights beyond he was great tonight and he should be given a second start as soon as humanly possible.