The Calgary Flames head into Friday night’s game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets looking to match a season-best five game winning streak. How they’ve won the previous four games goes against conventional wisdom.
In essence, the Flames have been taking a page — or an overwhelming portion of the book — from the Toronto Maple Leafs over the past four games. The Leafs lead all NHL teams in rendering a league-high 35.9 shots against per game. While they were still able to find success through the first half of the season, eventually this telling stat caught up to them and they will be on the outside looking in this playoff season.
The Flames have been outshot 142-82 during their winning streak. On average, they have been outshot by 15 shots per game during the streak. Of those 142 shots, Karri Ramo (three games) and Joey MacDonald (one game) have been able to turn aside all but five attempts, good for a remarkable .965 SV percentage. While this is no means a recipe for long-term success, it is refreshing to know your goaltender can get to that level of play.
To expect a .965 SV percentage to last any longer than the odd streak is ridiculous. However, as noted by Flames’ head coach Bob Hartley, Ramo has been playing strong down the stretch and turning in performances that would suggest he could be a capable no. 1 in the league.
Flames’ fans will be wanting to compare Ramo to fellow Finnish netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. Obviously, it’s far too early for that, but Kiprusoff highlighted how good a team can be when their goalie can steal games. While Kiprusoff did it regularly for nearly a decade in Calgary, highlighted by a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, one can only dream the Flames can get that kind of production again.
In the meantime, Calgary fans can enjoy basking in this late season surge by Ramo and cross their fingers that it not only continues in these remaining two games, but into next season as well.