April 9th, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
A funny thing happens in hockey when the final siren roars and the game is over. You forget quickly the events that lead up to the result. Wins become a count, points a tally, and individual games blend into a blur when looking back on a season.
Hard to say how the Flames final two games will go, but if the last four have been any indication you can count on the club’s goaltending being the difference between winning and losing.
A four game winning streak late in a season can get fans into a tizzy, but getting out shot by a two to one count, as they did again in a 4-3 shoot out win over the Kings can be a little misleading.
But boy had Calgary found themselves a goaltender!
The first guy to mention is easy. Kari Ramo has been compared to Kiprusoff this week which is somewhat fair, and I guess a little exciting. He moves laterally really well, never gives up on a puck and has a really laid back attitude. Tonight he was unlucky on a somewhat high tip goal, and a late flutter puck or he would have really stoned the Kings. Unreal.
Great game for TJ Brodie. Great speed as seen in his almost overtime breakaway, skated the puck away from trouble all night, showed patience under a huge King press avoiding cough ups and bad decisions. Exceptional young player.
Good to see great guy TJ Galiardi score and add an assist for a two point game. He’s been pushed in and out of the lineup of late with a press from young players.
Hartley really leaned on Joe Colborne tonight, as the former Leaf lead all forwards with just over 20 minutes of ice time. What a season, good pick up for a fourth round pick.
Another typical Sean Monahan night in his rookie season. He doesn’t dominate with speed. He doesn’t wow you with his physical play, he doesn’t dazzle with his hands. He just gets the puck in the slot and puts it in. Always. Tonight he scored on a broken play in the second period then scored on a similar shot in the shoot out to give the Flames the win.
Good to see Kenny Agostino get an assist on Stajan’s goal. The play was a fluke and a broken play but it has to help his confidence.
Loved the physical aspect of Van Brabant’s game. He coughed up the puck on the tying goal in the third, but was great finishing checks and cycling the puck down low. I think the kid is going to be really tough to play against in two years when he fills out and adds confidence.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
More trouble for the Flames as they just keep on winning and winning and winning. Maybe the Flames should have dealt the other goalie at the deadline and settled into the second overall pick!
The Hurricanes are now only two points up but they have a game in hand. Good guess that the Flames will take them should they sweep their last two games. Maybe Ramo will eat some bad halibut.
As cryptic as my opening may have been in pointing out why the Flames are winning, I do think it’s an important part of developing culture and setting the table for next season. We debated last season about that late run and how it took the team out of the top four spot and into the six hole for the 2013 draft. Sure they may have ended up with Seth Jones, but that little run could have done a lot to set the tone for this upbeat and unexpected season. … Interesting to see Hartley slot Monahan as the fourth shooter in the shoot out this season. I had thought Colborne, Cammalleri then Monahan, but the kid may not have gotten a chance without the hilarious Hudler slapper. … More and more the Gaudreau thing has me feeling pretty at ease. It’s not necessarily what is actually being said, but what’s sort of said, or not said. Conroy discussing the fact that he may only get one game, his Dad saying Calgary wouldn’t actually have to pay him. My gut is its now or a year from now, but either way he’s signing.
Paul Byron had his baby, or maybe his wife did to be specific, so Agostino stayed in the lineup and picked up an assist.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Two more games, both against Canadian teams that are also set to miss the playoffs. Sadly that’s not enough to narrow down who they’re playing.