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Flames Today: 01.05.15

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

ANAHEIM, CA -- It’s Karri Ramo’s turn to carry the ball.

The Calgary Flames goaltender will replace Jonas Hiller as the starter for Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round series against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (8 p.m., CBC, SN960).

“I met with Jonas this morning and then with Karri this morning,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “[Ramo] will be our starting goalie.”

Ramo’s first start in nearly a full month -- and first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- comes under trying circumstances with the Flames down in the series.

But, as he describes, it's not a situation he's entirely unfamiliar with.

“It is a big game but it's not bigger than... we have played in [many] big games over the past month,” Ramo said. “It's a great challenge for me. It's my first start and it's a fun thing.

“In a way it's a little bit more time to prepare. Today is a chance to relax a little bit and tonight then start preparing tomorrow for Sunday's game.”

Hiller survived just 22:13 in Game 1, his playoff return to Anaheim, after allowing three goals on 11 shots en route to a 6-1 loss on Thursday. Ramo stopped 14 of 17 shots in relief.

Including Game 6’s series-clinching win against the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference First Round, Hiller has been yanked in back-to-back starts, stopping nine of 14 shots.

“The game against the Canucks, I pulled him in order to give a spark to our team. Last night, I felt he was not at his best,” Hartley said. “We have to be honest, so last night I gave him the third goal and I felt, at the same time, you never know what can happen."

After relief appearances in back-to-back games, Ramo’s ready to start.

“Definitely it's easier to start than to hop in middle of the game,” he said. “It's not the first time I've done it so I'm sure I'm ready. It's a big challenge. It's a game in Anaheim; it's a team that's really talented. It's a big challenge for everybody but it's just a hockey game and it's the same kind of game we've been playing.”

In the regular season, Hiller went 1-2-0 with a 3.43 GAA and .889 save percentage against the Ducks.

Ramo played one game in the regular season against the Ducks, a 29-save performance in a 6-3 win against Anaheim on March 11.

He got a first-hand look at the Ducks, both from the bench and in the crease, in Game 1, too.

“I'm sure everybody got a little lesson on what kind of game this is yesterday,” Ramo said. “That team is really talented, really skilled but they play a tough game. They're not afraid to go at the net, they don't just stay outside. They're right there in front of our faces all the time. They are going to come hard and they try to score.”

INJURY UPDATE

The Flames didn’t just lose Game 1. The defeat saw forward Micheal Ferland leave the game following the first period, while Jiri Hudler’s last shift came early in the second. Both are day-to-day, according to Hartley.

“We sat with the medical staff this morning,” Hartley said. “All of our injuries are all day-to-day. We expect all of our players to be in the lineup but, at the same time, we'll let the medical staff work.”

Hudler, alongside Sean Monahan, led the Flames with 31 goals, while his 45 assists and 76 points were also a team-best. The 31-year-old had an NHL-leading 60 points at even strength. In seven playoff games, Hudler has added three goals and three assists.

Ferland has a team-leading 42 hits in the postseason for Calgary. Joe Colborne and David Jones, tied for second, have 22 each.

“I expect Micheal Ferland to play,” said Hartley, who added the 23-year-old doesn’t have a head injury.

Should injuries require a roster change, though, the coach has plenty of players at his disposal in Anaheim.

And given the physical nature of the Ducks, David Wolf -- 6-foot-3, 215-pounds -- is ready to step in if needed.

“This is the coach’s decision,” Wolf said. “I don’t know what they want. I play my physical game, prepare for it every day, and if the put me in the lineup, I’ll try to do my best and play my game.”

NOTES: The Flames held an optional skate at Honda Center on Friday. Among the skaters were defenceman Raphael Diaz and forward Lance Bouma. Bouma hasn’t played since sustaining an upper body injury in a regular season game on April 7. Diaz, lower body, hasn’t played since April 2.

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