SAN JOSE, CA -- On Friday afternoon, Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley announced he will be making a goaltending change on Saturday night and Karri Ramo will get the start against the San Jose Sharks.
The 27-year-old has appeared in one game this year, getting the start in the Flames season opener in Washington on Oct. 3.
"Karri's going to go," Hartley said after a lengthy skate at the Sharks practice facility. "Mac gave us a good run. Karri is always working hard and he deserves a start. Nothing against what Mac gave us but we feel that we have two goalies capable of winning us some games. It's Karri's turn."
Joey MacDonald, who signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Flames on Apr. 20, has played in the last five games and has been a difference maker on more than one occasion this season. But Hartley has faith in both of his netminders and wants to ensure neither develop rink rust.
"I don't like to have goalies not playing for a long time," he explained. "The good thing about Karri [and] the way that he works, he's always one of the first guys at the rink in the morning, in the gym. On the ice, he always works with Clint [Malarchuk] before practice. Does his practice. Stays on the ice after. He's ready.
"There's two goalies and whenever you get the call, you need to be ready."
While it has been a couple of weeks since he has seen game action, Ramo feels the time he has spent backing up MacDonald has been extremely useful on a couple of levels.
While he has NHL games on his resume, it has been a few years since he was playing regularly in North America. By watching his team, he has been able to get a good handle on the pace of the league and gain a better understanding of the Flames systems.
"Overall, it's getting comfortable with everything," Ramo stated. "Getting more and more practice, seeing more pucks in practice, more situations, a little bit of puck handling."
All of that work Ramo has put in will be useful against the Sharks. They have fired 286 shots on net in 7 games, scoring 33 goals in the process. They are currently averaging over 40 shots per game and have suffered just a single loss this year.
"Like last time I played, it was the same thing. They play good hockey," Ramo said. "But I think we're really confident and we'll just keep playing our own game. Do the things [we need to do] the right way.
"We can play against them. No question about it."