Flames 3, Lightning 1 post-game embers: Justice for Karri Ramo!

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Karri Ramo really should have gotten his second shutout of the season in a row. He had just 1:39 to go until he’d have had it, which would have repeated a feat he did back in Nov. 2013, when he shut out the Sharks and Coyotes in back-to-back games. 

But unfortunately, it didn’t happen. After thoroughly dominating the Lightning and restricting their chances over the course of 50 minutes of game play (with the occasional exception here and there), Tampa Bay turned it on in the game’s final 10 minutes, and ended up getting a goal out of it to cut the Flames’ lead to one. 

It definitely wasn’t a garbage goal by any means. But Ramo thoroughly shut them out before it was scored, preserving the Flames’ then-one goal lead until they were able to double it late in the second. That doesn’t go unnoticed, and his 30 stops throughout the night were a big part of the Flames getting above .500.

But more on Ramo

So in October, Ramo had a save percentage of .868. In November, it went up to .909, and in December, it further increased to .919.

Now, in January, it’s up to .984! Wow, what growth. February is going to be amazing.

Okay, not really. But there’s undeniable improvement over the course of Ramo’s season thus far. He’s now up to a .913 save percentage, which is actually a career high for him at this point.

Last season, Ramo played 33 games and had a save percentage of .912; this season, he has now played 28 games – nearly matching that total – and is that one percentage point above his previous high.

Now, Ramo’s previous career high in games played in a season was the year before, when he played 40 in 2013-14. He had a .911 save percentage that year, and that’s including another disastrous October and November, when he had save percentages below .900. 

That was back when Ramo was making his return to the NHL. This season, it was the three-goalie situation that hampered things. But in 2014-15, when he had a .912 save percentage, there wasn’t really anything specific to hold him back – that’s just who he was.

This might just be who Ramo is. Not anybody amazing, just a goalie who can play at this level, but likely won’t be the difference maker most of the time. And for where the Flames are at this point in their rebuild, that’s okay – but he won’t be the answer going forward.

Still, neither the highs nor the lows are as great as they appear at the time.

Brodie + Giordano = Beyond incredible

T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano created the Flames’ first goal, and Giordano created the second. And while they were doing that, they were also constantly on the ice: Brodie for 26:08, and Giordano for 23:26. Even with all that ice time, they were still some of the top Flames in regards to possession: Brodie for 53.85%, and Giordano for 61.22%. (The Flames had exceptional possession stats in the first period, but started to give way to the Lightning as the game went on and the opposition were increasingly desperate to tie it up.) 

The most common opponents Brodie and Giordano faced? Steven Stamkos. Anton Stralman. Valtteri Filpulla. Victor Hedman. Tampa’s top guys, and they dominated them, posting above a 50.00+% ES CF when facing against them (except for Brodie against Hedman, where he was 46.15%). (And even higher when away from them, but hey, we’re talking about 11-14 minutes facing these guys.) And aside from one goal really late in the game that came at the end of a 12-corsi for event stretch over seven minutes, they were perfect against them.

This was a banner game for the two of them, and a reminder of just why one can argue they are the top defence pairing in the NHL. There were times throughout the game where it felt the Flames only needed Brodie and Giordano to have success, the goalie and forwards need not apply.

Just, wow.

The obligatory Joe Colborne section

We’re apparently going to have to talk about Joe Colborne for as long as he is a Flame, so let’s do that. Let’s talk about the guy who led the Flames in forward ice time for the second game in a row, this time with 18:14 spent on the ice (and 1:14 on the power play, can’t forget about the productive power play minutes!).

… I’m not entirely sure what he did with that ice time. I remember Johnny Gaudreau creating plays, I remember Sean Monahan getting scoring chances, but I can’t quite remember what Colborne contributed to his line. 

The numbers supported the eye test, as even though Colborne spent 15:43 with Monahan and 17:11 with Gaudreau, he only had two individual corsi events for all game: this compared to Gaudreau’s six and Monahan’s seven. 

This was Colborne’s second game in a row on a line with Monahan and Gaudreau; in the first game, Gaudreau had four indidivual corsi events for, Colborne one, and Monahan zero. So it’s not as if this is a be-all, end-all consistent stat. 

But so far, Colborne is looking like, at absolute best, a complete passenger, and that’s without including the lapses in play or questionable giveaways he tends to be prone to. So I really don’t get the insistence of continuing to use him on the top line. I would understand the argument if it stopped at “the Flames have nobody else” (and with Michael Frolik out, they really do have few options), but we don’t know what they have. We don’t know what Micheal Ferland’s ceiling actually is. We do know Josh Jooris was able to handle second line centre duties for an extended period of time the season before. 

And yet, for whatever reason, things keep falling back to Colborne, even though there has been literally nothing in his game to suggest he’s capable of that role. He has the tools to theoretically be up there, but he doesn’t have the box to put them in, and so we end up with what’s looking like a neutered top line while the lines below end up buzzing.

At least the rest of the lines can play, though, and all four can be rolled throughout a game. And in a tight game like this one where the Flames had to preserve their lead, that was important. 

But man, the Flames really, really need a top flight right winger again. And it’s not Colborne.

    • Longshot1977

      Problem is, both Rychel and Drouin play the left side. The Flames are half-way deep there, particularly when they keep Bennett on the wing. What they really need is a Right Wing, and there aren’t any obvious candidates.

      Maybe Iggy would come back? *fingerscrossed*

    • piscera.infada

      Per war-on-ice, his even-strength sv% is .921 (adjusted .919), which is right around his career average. His high-danger sv% is lower than it has been over the last two years though.

      Ramo has been good of late, but the team has been much, much better overall since he’s become the de facto number 1.

  • Burnward

    Ramo has really settled in. Completely different tender compared to the start of the year.

    Solid game defensively from the boys too. Playing in control. Forecheck was all over them again.

    Keep it going.

    Go Flames Go!

  • RedMan

    the boys were saying on 960 this morning that they think Coulborne is on that line because the coach doesn’t want to break up other lines that are all clicking. I believe this too, and in fact this is about the only thing that makes sense, although it doesn’t make sense that he is leading that line and the forward core in ice time. weird.

    • everton fc

      He could call up Hamilton, Hathaway, even Poirier… And get more offence and finesse… Than Colborne. Perhaps…

      Or, Swap Colborne w/Jooris on the 4th line. And what happens to Colborne when Hudler and Frolik return? He better start lighting it up soon…

  • knappsacked

    Not trying to stir the pot here, but does anyone else feel like Johnny has been a little gun shy ever since that Ducks game? And not just because he’s been held pointless in the last four games. He seems to be spinning off checks too early, rushing passes, making a lot more low percentage plays than before. Where as he might have made one or two overly creative bad passes a game before, the last few games it seems he’s been doing it throughout the game. Rather than hold the puck until the last second before passing or dodging, he seems to be throwing the puck away as soon as an opposition player moves on him. Hate to be the one that brings this up because maybe he’s just having some off games, but thoughts?

    • piscera.infada

      He’s definitely having some off games, and yes, I have noticed it too. I chalk it up to him being less than half-way through his second NHL season. He’s a young player, and he has the talent to figure it out.

      I also don’t think that Colborne on his wing has helped matters though (no, he’s not the reason Gaudreau has gone four games without a point). That’s all I’ll say about that because I don’t want to go all ‘broken record’.

      • cberg

        No, I haven’t really noticed that with Gaudreau. I would, however suggest he is a warrior and winner at all costs kind of guy and as the team is playing better overall he can slip into playing his part rather than needing to drag the team along by the scruff of the neck every night.

        Certainly line adjustments will take a while with a new player on the line, and I also believe other teams are seeing JH as the engine that drives the Flames and really focusing attention on him, which is reducing opportunities. Even so he is still one of their best players out there and overall the team is better when ALL the players are going balls to the wall like they did the past two games.

      • Kevin R

        I think a big decision has to be made on big Joe & there are probably higher level politics involved to some extent. Joe is getting his chance & it’s up to him what he makes of it. Personally, I think they are trying to force a round peg into a square hole (or vica versa). Top line minutes are truly improving his value in a trade package. If he isn’t traded prior to July 1, he may get a short term contract paid as a bottom 6 forward. That is where I think he should be. i don’t have the venom against big Joe, I think he makes for a decent bottom 6 forward & should get paid & minutes & even press box nights from time to time accordingly.

        I prefer Ferland on the top line & then Jooris. But I agree, that line has lost something with Colborne on it. Hope this experiment ends soon.

  • mk

    According to my calculations, if Ramo’s SV% continues to rise at the similar rate, he’ll have a SV% of approximately 1.022 … meaning he’ll be our 2nd or 3rd leading scorer for the month of February, in addition to shutting out every team along the way. 😉

    …imagine how great he would look if I used a 6th degree polynomial to fit that data. An Inconvenient Advanced Stat, the hockey movie.

    /s

  • Avalain

    I think that, all stats aside, the fact that Ramo hasn’t let in a softie for a while now is a huge plus. Ultimately, all that you NEED from a goalie is for them to stop the shots that they should be able to stop, then perhaps a huge save or two. Goalies can absolutely steal a game or two, but you can’t rely on that.

    I am actually at the point where I disagree that Ramo isn’t the answer going forward. At least for next year, the goaltender options aren’t very great. We aren’t going to pick up Price next year and with the surgery for Gillies pushing his development back a year I’d be shocked if we go with an Ortio/Gillies combo. Unless Ramo collapses back to what he was in October I really don’t see any clear upgrades for next year.

    • cberg

      Agree fully, we should re-sign Ramo for a year (best) or two years max, and the same with Ortio /Poulin. That would give us Ramo with either Ortio/Poulin with the Flames and Gillies/McDonald with the Heat for next year at least.

      If we can’t re-sign either Ramo or Ortio then its into the FA market or try and trade for a BIG goalie upgrade going for 2-3 years max (e.g. Bishop, Anderson…).

    • Cfan in Vic

      That is indeed, a great article and initiative. I also agree that it would be great cross-nation material.

      I must say that the comment section left me a bit shocked and disappointed. It seems that ~1/4 of the readership is offended by an attempt to bring awareness to type of cause, and that just makes me sad for humanity. #97TRAIN had a top-notch take on the issue, and I give the guy a heap of credit for sharing it…

      Re: Last nights game.

      Whoooo, that D-pair! Gio’s rounding back into solid form and it’s showing. Johnny has still been good in the last couple, but I think he took a slash-beating against the Ducks, and is playing just a bit timid since. I have a feeling he’ll get back to his old self, but I think Ferly would be a nice compliment on the top line, at least for a game or two.

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      Clicked the link and felt sick to my stomach… I should clarify before I get crucified, I’m referring to the comments, not the article itself. You know it’s bad when Train is one of the voices of reason. There’s a lot of bigots hidden out there.

    • Ari Yanover

      It’s up here now! Unfortunately due to the earlier publish date it’s a bit further down the page, but it’s up here. Fantastic initiative, would encourage everyone to donate, would be delighted to see something like that at the higher levels, etc etc. What a brilliant and beautiful idea.

  • cberg

    Is still waiting for the regression forecasted by the experts. Seems it hasn’t happened and we are now what 2 years after the Cgy/Van brawl which Kickstarted things?

    Would appreciate a public retraction and admission of error

    • Craig

      Technically speaking, Calgary has regressed this season. 40 points in 39 games translates roughly to an 84 points season. Considering that the Flames finished 2014-2015 with 97 points, that seems like a considerable step backward, at least in the standings.

      • piscera.infada

        While I agree with what you’re saying, the Flames had 45 points through 39 games last year. As such, they’re not the yawning chasm away from last year’s results that many make it seem.

        The Flames were sunk in the early season by some horrible goaltending and inconsistent play in the defensive zone. They have (all things considered) rebounded reasonably well. The second half of the season will be extremely telling for the Flames. The first ‘half’ (39 games) of the Flames season was an exercise in wildly inconsistent swings (long losing streaks, long winning streaks). If the Flames can play consistently well through the remaining 43 games, they likely won’t get to the 97 points they did last year, and they might not make the playoffs, but it will be a significant step forward in the organization’s development.

      • Southern_Point

        Technically speaking that 84 points would need to include a horrible month like the Flames had in October.Doubtful that would happen with the way the team has been trending,

    • Ari Yanover

      The hell are you even talking about? No one owes you a damn thing.

      And you seriously need to keep things in perspective. This team in ONE GAME above .500, and 3 points out of being 28TH OVERALL. If they were in any other division we would be looking towards the draft already.

      It’s amazing how carried away some of you get. Let’s be realistic and keep it in perspective. They’re an above average team at best, who are either going to sneak in to the playoffs in one of the worst divisions in history, or miss and end up a bottom five team (which wouldn’t be bad at all, they need another high draft or two).

      No one owes you an apology because this team is exactly what the “experts” you mention, say they are.

  • knappsacked

    I don’t know if I would say Ramo has been amazing, but he’s definitely returned back to “average” which is good.

    It’s worth noting his new pads are nice too.

    Colborne situation is confusing.

    He’s big, and has soft hands on the shootout, but he just doesn’t seem to fit well on this team at all. Maybe Hartley is trying to get him going with more ice time? Not sure.

    But you know who is looking good? Bennett and Backlund. They may not be putting up big numbers but they sure are effective out there.. if we can get Frolik back soon, I think we have a good chance at making the playoffs this year!

  • TheoForever

    Ramo has been great lately, looks like a number one goalie. Whatever the work he did with that goalie trainer is paying off. If he keeps this up, we should sign him for couple more years.

  • KACaribou

    Ramo’s play has convinced me of one thing I always knew deep down but recently started questioning:

    Tandems Don’t Work. You need a horse and you need to ride your horse. Otherwise both goalies will give up a softie a game, and never make that constant improvement in their details that we’re seeing on a daily basis with Ramo.

    Ramo played his best in 2013-14 when he was the clear #1.
    Talbot up north, played his best in 2014-15 with Lundqvist out and he was the clear #1.

    Luongo and Schneider? Wasn’t working for either of them and led to the downfall of the Canucks. Now Luongo is looking like he’s going to win the first Vezina of his career and Schneider’s not far behind.

    Bernier? Start playing like Jonathan Bernier and not like Ben Scrivens once he’s given a run of starts to work through his problems.

    There’s almost no argument for a tandem and yes I know last year the tandem seemed to work but maybe we were wrong. And I think it’s going to be the downfall of the Dallas Stars this year.

    We’re even seeing it with Ortio down in Stockton. Yeah he was horrible trying to get his rhythm back this year after the 3 goalie fiasco, but lately he’s been looking like the Goalie That Was Promised. History with Ortio shows that once he gets a run of strong starts he can sustain it for multiple months at a time. Let’s see if that’s the Ortio we get the rest of the year.

    Poulin and Hiller will have to be the odd men out, unfortunately for them.

  • knappsacked

    Fun eh boys and girls? You gotta love the effort. Forechecking really throws the opposition off. Last change was huge matching first line with first line. Most first lines are not super checkers so if you can hem them in they’re doomed and you have negated the opposition first line. A good checker with good hands is what’s needed on that first line. Colburn didn’t hurt that line for a change. He seemed to be doing a decent checking role.

  • hulkingloooooob

    on the subject of Ramo…..as we know with goalies, it’s a slow burn, and he’s finally playing fantastic. *(no he’s not price but he’s been really good, nothing to complain about at all). this is a perfect example of why i get annoyed at all the stat junkies. historically blah blah, Ramo seems to be “this” type of goalier blah blah. people can change, ateletes can improve, and especially goalies. so let’s start giving the guy the credit he’s due. if he keeps this up i’m fine with his contract and would love to have him back for another year. i really don’t think Bernier or Bishop are the answer. did you see Bishop last night? lost the puck way too many times and he’s big but a bit slow and clumsy to my eyes. I would not want to pay big bucks for that roll of the dice, no thanks!

    as for Colby. i think there’s a few things going on. yes the other lines are clicking so why mess with that? and yes, maybe they are trying to get him going or at least up his trade value, but most importantly they need someone who can win battles on the boards and cycle the puck down low, as it’s obvious johnny and mony can’t really get that job done. so who else? ferland would be interesting. even bennet, and yes, frolik is likely our best option. but really who else? so i can see what they are trying to do, but i can also see that it doesn’t seem to be working. it’s not ideal, but this is our lineup right now. hate to say it but a big right winger or two at the draft could go a long way….

    also, gotta shout out backlund for his increased physical play. man, he’s a beast out there when he hits! i love it!

    and yes, brodie should be going to the all star game. awe well. his time is coming!