April 4th, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
Over the course of an 82 game schedule things balance out. A team will lose games they swear they should have one due to bad bounces, sketchy officiating or dominant goaltending. Conversely, you’ll win a few that you really have no business winning.
Last night in Tampa, the Flames had one of those nights.
Two bounces in 15 seconds in the first period gave the Flames a 2-0 lead, and that’s all they’d need with Kari Ramo’s goaltending, and good fortune as they wrapped up the Bolts 4-1 on Thursday night.
The biggest difference bar none was Kari Ramo, who calmly turned aside 31 shots to beat the team that brought him into the National Hockey League. Ramo continues to be on quite a run for the club, with only one iffy start (Ottawa) in his last six as he makes the Flames competitive every night. Should have the inside lane to the starting position next season, perhaps with countryman Ortio backing him up.
Good to see TJ Brodie with a bounce back night after his lack of good fortune in Toronto two nights earlier. Brodie was +2 with 25 minutes of ice time, and a much less eventful night.
The rest of the team were pretty invisible to be honest … odd game in Tampa, and not one where any Flames players really stood out.
Van Brabant was a much more interesting player in his second NHL start, compared to the game in Toronto. He’s quicker than I thought, likes to get in on the check, and actually steered a few pucks on net. I don’t think he projects too far up the roster, but he seems to be ahead of say Hanowski on the depth chart going forward.
Hanowski did have a good back into the lineup game for his standards, way less jittery with the puck, and more solid up and down the ice in his position.
I know Chris Breen played, he picked up an assist, but I sure don’t remember him on the ice at all. The quietest 7:15 of ice time I’ve seen, which is great I guess for a stay at home defenseman. His most memorable shift was one spent almost entirely without a stick, which was interesting.
Colborne didn’t get a lot done, but man do I love his ascension to master of the wall in the opposition zone. His work doesn’t always come to fruition, but a big body that protects the puck is dangerous if he plays with guys that find open ice.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Flames win, move to a point of the Islanders and give the Long Island club a game in hand again. Their percentage chance of drafting 4th moved from 80% to 63% over night.
Loved Brian McGrattan pushing Van Brabrant out of the left wing spot on a face off to jaw at the opposing Tampa player that was riding the rookie. Great leadership. … Interesting game tomorrow night in Florida with the Flames probably needing to lose, and Calgary fans wanting Florida to win. The club played the hell out of their big four defenseman last night, are playing back to back, and starting McDonald so they are doing all they can to give us what we want! … Do you bring back Westgarth next season? Still not a fan of having two guys that drop the mitts but he’s growing on me, have to admit that. … Come on Backlund, 2 goals for 20, and only 1 point for 40, both big milestones. Given the ups and downs the prospect has had in a Calgary uniform it would be great to see him hit those “upper roster” signature stat areas. Get it done! … Does Galiardi have a future in Calgary? He just doesn’t seem to stand out when he draws back into the lineup and is getting out noticed by too many kids. Might get lost in the shuffle.
With Wotherspoon having surgery the Flames inserted Breen in his place. Stajan and Hudler back to Calgary for personal reasons had Galiardi and Hanowski suite up.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Right back at it tonight in Florida against the Panthers. Flames looking to sweep the State, before heading on to New Jersey.