It’s nothing against Karri Ramo. Right now, it’s what we see from Joey MacDonald. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames are going back to Joey MacDonald between the pipes.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley confirmed the 33-year-old veteran would make his third straight start when the club plays host to the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
He’s earned it, according to Hartley.
“I felt that Mac played pretty well, gave us some big saves at key times,” Hartley said. “It’s just basically a gut feeling from all the coaching staff. I sat with Clint (Malarchuk), I sat with Jacques (Cloutier), with Marty (Gelinas). We talked about it. We have three goalies capable of playing in the NHL. Right now we feel that Mac is the one who deserves to play.”
MacDonald hasn’t been beaten in regulation this season, sporting a 1-0-1 record with a 3.93 goals against average and .869 save percentage in 122 minutes of action. Coming off a 23-save performance in Calgary’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, MacDonald is excited to get more work in.
“It’s great to get an opportunity,” he said. “Getting in there and playing, it’s fun.”
Initially, it appeared that Karri Ramo had earned the starting gig over MacDonald and Reto Berra coming out of training camp. The 27-year-old was in net for Calgary’s season opener against the Washington Capitals last Thursday, making 39 saves in a 5-4 shootout loss. MacDonald started the next night, a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He hasn’t given up the crease since.
“You don’t think too much,” said MacDonald, who compiled an 8-9-1 record with the Flames last season. “You’ve just got to keep on working and whatever the outcome is. I didn’t get the start for Game 1. You just keep working and it’s turned out the last couple. It’s been like that my whole career. You’ve just got to keep working hard, don’t get down on yourself if it doesn’t work out and things will work out if you keep working hard.”
Hartley stressed that MacDonald’s workload isn’t a slight on Ramo’s start against the Capitals, his only body of work so far in the regular season.
“It’s nothing against Karri Ramo,” he said. “Right now, it’s what we see from Joey MacDonald. It was the same thing before Game 1. In training camp, we saw a little bit more from Karri and that’s why he got the start. Right now we’re seeing a little bit more from Joey and that’s why he’s playing. After tomorrow night, maybe the story will be the same, maybe it’s going to be a different one.”
Both goaltenders are aware every outing counts. They’ve adjusted accordingly.
“I just go day-by-day and game-by-game,” MacDonald said. “Every time he tells me that I’m playing it’s exciting.
“I want to be in there every single game and play.”