Karri Ramo (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Calgary goaltender Karri Ramo turned aside 30 shots Wednesday night against Vancouver, but it was a first-period save that was the highlight of his night. With the Sedin twins on a 2-on-1, Ramo slid across the crease and made a spectacular windmill blocker stop.
Throughout the pre-season, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley admitted he wasn’t quite sure who his starting goaltender was. He had two choices: run with veteran Jonas Hiller or hand the reins to Karri Ramo. For opening night, he gave the nod to Ramo and early on, Ramo made Hartley look like a genius.
Midway through the first frame, with the Flames and Vancouver Canucks deadlocked at zero, a broken play in the neutral zone resulted in a 2-on-1 for the Canucks’ two most lethal players, the Sedin twins. With Henrik coming down the right wing and Daniel streaking down the left, Henrik laid a perfect saucer pass over the stick of Flames defenseman Kris Russell that landed right on Daniel’s tape for a one-timer.
In one motion, Ramo darted to his right and swung his blocker in windmill fashion to deflect the puck out of harm’s way and into the seats:
Ramo’s glory was short-lived, however, as less than a minute later Canucks’ right winger Jannik Hansen buried a seeing-eye slapshot to make the score 1-0. By the time the night was through, the Canucks had put five pucks past Ramo on 35 shots.
The goaltending storyline — the battle between Ramo and Hiller — will be one that takes a while to play out in Calgary. If Hartley wasn’t sure following the pre-season, he likely doesn’t know which netminder he wants to roll with at this point. Hiller will almost certainly get the start Saturday night against Vancouver.
Making matters more difficult, though, is Joni Ortio, the 24-year-old goaltender the Flames are currently carrying on their roster. Sending Ortio to the AHL would require waivers and Calgary isn’t sure the young netminder will clear, which would mean they would lose him for nothing.