Karri Ramo probably doesn’t have a future in print journalism. One-goal games? Those are the tough ones for the keyboard-pounders up in the press-box, but Ramo loves ’em. In fact, after Friday’s 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers at the Saddledome, the Calgary Flames’ puck-stopper insisted those are his favourite contests to be a part of. “I find that it’s the most fun to play tight games,” said Ramo, who made a season-high 38 saves against the Rangers. “Obviously, you would like to have a couple-goal cushion in the third, but that’s why we play this game — to be in that kind of moment when you’re just trying to fight to the end and keep the lead.” If that’s right up Ramo’s alley, he’s a perfect fit for these Flames. Thanks to a first-star performance from their netminder in Friday’s squeaker against the Rangers, the rebuilding bunch has tied a club record with 45 one-goal games this season. They have a 22-16-7 mark in contests decided by a single shot and, with eight games to go, will undoubtedly rewrite the previous franchise-high that was set in 2005-06. When you consider that stat, maybe the 27-year-old starting goalie isn’t the only guy with an affinity for one-goal games. “I can’t agree with him,” deadpanned Flames head coach Bob Hartley. “My shoes, there’s no more soles around the toes. I like to coach those 8-1s and 7-2s. I prefer those games.” For a few minutes, it seemed likely Friday’s contest would turn into a one-sided rout, and not in favour of the Flames. Ramo kicked aside 18 shots in the first period and winger-in-training Joe Colborne and captain Mark Giordano each provided some offensive support at the other end, but things briefly turned ugly for the hosts early in the second period. In fact, the Blueshirts scored three times on their first four shots of the middle frame, with Brian Boyle, Raphael Diaz and Brad Richards each finding the back of the net in a span of just 2:37. “That happens sometimes,” Ramo said with a shrug. “You just have to focus on the next puck always ... There’s still a lot of game left.” Plenty of time for a comeback, as it turned out. With about six minutes remaining in the second, tough-guy Kevin Westgarth jammed a puck through Henrik Lundqvist’s pads to tie it up, pushing the Rangers’ superstar netminder across the goal-line in the process. Lundqvist was furious with the men in stripes after Westgarth’s garbage goal, but he had nobody to blame but himself after Flames left-winger Michael Cammalleri snuck a long shot through his five-hole with just 7.6 seconds showing on the clock in a wild stanza.
Calgary Flames edge New York Rangers
Calgary Sun | Mar 29