Kris Russell’s overtime marker made Berra a winner in his first-ever NHL regular season start as the Flames posted a 3-2 victory against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Berra made 42 saves to earn the win and seemed exceedingly calm throughout the course of the contest.
The performance from the Swiss goalie was one that was badly needed for a team that wasn’t receiving consistent play at the position from either Karri Ramo or Joey MacDonald. MacDonald cleared league waivers and was assigned to the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL.
Flames head coach Bob Hartley is very familiar with Berra’s abilities as he coached over in Switzerland, and obviously has a great deal of confidence in him to have his first appearance come against the dangerous Hawks. Before embarking on the road trip, Hartley had indicated he was hoping to get a big save or two, and Berra more than delivered that.
While it is only one appearance, it was definitely an eye-opening performance and a great boost for a struggling club. It was the Flames’ first victory in Chicago since 2008.
Russell has been a pleasant surprise in his first season with the Flames. His career has been seemingly rejuvenated with the change of scenery after previous stints with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the St.Louis Blues. Russell is logging plenty of ice time with Dennis Wideman as they are eating up a ton of minutes with captain Mark Giordano on the shelf due to a broken ankle.
Another encouraging sign for the Flames and their fans is that Curtis Glencross’s offensive game is coming around after a slow start to the campaign. He’s notched three goals in his last four games after being held pointless during a five-game stretch.
The Flames continue to hold steady at .500 as they are 6-6-2 on the season. They’ve been in pretty much every game that they’ve played. Berra’s stellar performance was a great way to kick off this current four-game road trip on an upbeat note. Berra will no doubt receive more opportunities to prove that he’s the real deal.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports