GIO SPARKS FLAMES IN RETURN
The Calgary Flames welcomed captain Mark Giordano back with open arms.
After missing 18 straight with a broken ankle, Giordano returned to record a goal and an assist in Calgary’s 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday.
“It felt pretty good,” Giordano said. “Your adrenaline gets going pretty quick. I really didn’t feel my ankle at all so that’s a great sign.
“My wind and all that, I tried to keep it short all night and not over-extend myself out there but it felt pretty good. Reacting sometimes was a bit slow I thought but for the most part, we worked pretty hard with (strength and conditioning coach )Rich (Hesketh) in the gym and he does a good job of getting us ready.”
Giordano averaged over 25 minutes of action before sustaining the injury. He eased back into the lineup, playing 20:28 against the Coyotes.
“Unbelievable this guy (Giordano),” coach Bob Hartley said. “I’m not surprised at all. This morning I tried to protect him a little bit with not knowing how the game would go, but I am not surprised. The way that this guy works in the gym, the way that he prepares. He’s the ultimate pro and that’s why he’s our captain.”
Lee Stempniak echoed those sentiments.
“I thought he played well,” Stempniak said. “He obviously scored a goal which is always a bonus but he brings a physical presence on the blue line and he moves the puck well and just being the leader of the team, you always feel better when he’s in the lineup so I’m happy for him to step in and have some success. He’s a huge part of our team.”
RAMO SHUTS DOOR
Karri Ramo made consecutive starts for the first time since late October.
He didn’t disappoint.
After helping lift Calgary to a 2-1 win Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, Ramo kicked out 29 of 30 shots Wednesday to lead the Flames to back-to-back wins for just the second time this season.
“Obviously when we win, you feel good,” Ramo said. “It was a while that I didn’t see a game but I just have to go into every game and play game-by-game and not think about the situation too much or what’s going to happen. Just try to play game and enjoy it.”
With the victory, Ramo improves to 4-4-1 on the season with a 3.00 goals against average and .898 save percentage.
GOALIE GETS INTO ACTION
Ramo found the score sheet in more ways than one.
Though he made 29 saves, Ramo also racked up four minutes in penalties in the third period, first taking a high-sticking minor when he poked Kyle Chipchura and another when interfering with David Moss.
“I don’t know about those,” Ramo said. “I guess that interference was the worst you can do there. I don’t know if anybody watches those games and calls that are not calls and calls that aren’t calls. Good thing that they didn’t hurt us. I don’t know what I can do differently there.”
It’s the first multi-penalty game of Ramo’s National Hockey League career, but he’s no stranger to getting into the action outside the NHL.
“Well, when I had a fight, I had,” Ramo said. “I don’t know if you can count those. Two different times, two-minute penalties, I don’t think if that’s ever happened. Good thing it didn’t hurt us.”