Jonas Hiller has been pulled in consecutive starts, and Flames coach Bob Hartley isn’t going to let that happen in Game 2 of the Pacific Division final. Instead, Karri Ramo is getting the call between the pipes for Calgary.
During Thursday’s Game 1 against the Anaheim Ducks, Hiller was shelled for three goals on 14 shots in little more than 22 minutes of duty. In Game 6 of the first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks, Hiller faced a similar fate, getting the hook after allowing two goals on three shots in 7:30 of action. Ramo came into Game 6 and backstopped the Flames to victory, but wasn’t named the starter for the Anaheim series. He’ll get his shot now, though.
The announcement of Ramo as the Game 2 starter comes two days ahead of Sunday’s Game 2 contest.
Over the course of 2014-15, Ramo appeared in 34 games for the Flames and had a record of 15-9-3, but his 2.6 goals-against average and .912 save percentage don’t exactly inspire confidence. However, with Hiller possibly shaken from two bad outings in a row, it makes sense to start Ramo while Hiller tries to get his game right.
Hartley’s move to go with Ramo mirrors the tactic used by Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, in a way. After Corey Crawford‘s weak performance in Game 1 of the first-round series between Chicago and Nashville, he was pulled in favor of Scott Darling, who was in goal when the Blackhawks won in overtime. For the next game, Crawford was again given the reigns, but after being shelled for six goals, it was Darling who got the call in Game 3. Darling played spectacularly, but Quenneville gave the net back to Crawford following a shaky Game 6 by Darling and now Crawford is getting the nod in Round 2.
In his relief appearance of Hiller Thursday evening, Ramo stopped 18 of 21 shots he faced, but allowed three goals. This post-season, Ramo has a 1-0 record with a 3.15 GAA and .881 SP. Contrasted to Hiller’s 2.61 GAA and .919 SP, the move seems to be one to try to inspire confidence in his team by switching up the goaltender.
Hiller has a career playoff record of 15-15, with a 2.35 GAA and .93 SP. Sunday’s game will mark the first NHL playoff start for Ramo.