We knew it wouldn’t be easy, and it wasn’t. The Tampa Bay Lightning have long been a hard team to beat with all the talent and chemistry that they have on their roster.
With Lance Bouma out with an illness and Derek Smith scratched from defense, the Flames were depending on Wideman’s return to help on the blue line.
Westgarth tried to make a statement for the Flames in front of the oppositions net by getting physical but ended up with a cross-checking penalty on Ben Bishop. There was a bit of pushing and shoving in the first period, but it didn’t amount to much.
Backlund had a breakaway chance but was caught up in a hook from Brewer which drew a penalty. The Flames were on the power play, but no goals were scored. Ladislav Smid had the best chances on the Tampa net, but no goals were scored by either team to finish off the first.
Even though Calgary had more shots on net in the second (Tampa Bay 19, Calgary 13), their defense couldn’t keep pace with Tampa Bay. Palat and Kucherov scored the only two goals in the second frame for the Lightning. The Lightning were the first to strike early in the period. After Mike Cammalleri covered the puck with his hand, later in the period, the Flames went on a penalty kill but the Lightning struck again to make the score 2-0.
And then came the bad calls by the refs. The entire Saddledome, except for maybe the people standing in line at the concession, were booing after a good chance on the Tampa net was whistled dead because of a broken skate. And then there was a questionable call on Hudler for cross-checking that made the fans break out in another round of booing. It was not a good way to end the period.
Yet, the Flames came back in the third with more energy than I had seen the entire game. The beginning of the last period was about to prove that even when the Flames are down, they’re never really out. And they had Karri Ramo to thank for that.
My 1 Star
Ramo made save after save all game and kept the Flames alive, especially in the third period when the home team is known to fall apart in the last few minutes. With 27 saves against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Karri Ramo’s save percentage is now at .931 in this game and he should be very proud of his performance. He definitely deserves My 1 Star tonight.
With Giordano taking a late third period penalty, the Flames solidified the Lightning’s two goal lead. With a final score of 2-0, this is the Flames third shutout in their last four games. Not exactly something to be proud of, but I hope they realize that something needs to change because whatever they’re doing right now isn’t working.
The next game is Monday, January 6th when the Flames travel to take on the Colorado Avalanche.