CANUCKS (31-20-3) at FLAMES (30-22-3)
TV: CBC, TVA2
CALGARY -- Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo hasn’t played a full game in over two months, but coach Bob Hartley isn’t worried about starting him against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s ready,” said Hartley, whose Flames will welcome Vancouver on the second half of back-to-back games. “We gave him a few third periods in the last couple of games and that was by design and the way that this guy practices, he’s ready. I’m feeling very confident about Karri.”
Since his last full 60-minute effort -- a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Dec. 11 -- Ramo has made just four appearances totaling 84:22 of action.
He was pulled midway through a 5-2 defeat to the New York Rangers on Dec. 16 after allowing four goals on 13 shots and did not play again until Jan. 7 against the Detroit Red Wings. Ramo was forced from action midway through the 3-2 loss against Detroit after colliding with teammate Raphael Diaz.
He missed Calgary’s next five games as a result of an upper-body injury.
Upon returning to the lineup, Ramo backed up Jonas Hiller during a run of nine consecutive starts but has seen action in two of the past three, relieving Hiller in losses against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings.
In his two relief appearances, Ramo has stopped all 11 shots faced in nearly 24 minutes of work.
“He’s been that guy working hard in practice and staying on with the injured guys and the guys who aren’t in the lineup,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “We’ve got to reward him by playing our game -- solid defensively, clearing out the front of the net for him. He jumped in there last game and it was nice to see that he looked really sharp. Hopefully he carries that over.”
Patience and preparation has helped ready Ramo, said Hartley.
“That’s Karri Ramo,” he said. “We’re dealing with Karri since last year so we know how he is. He’s the ultimate professional always. Prepares well; is always ready. Look at the two times he’s come on in relief of [Hiller] in the past week. He’s been flawless. He’s been very good and that’s how he prepares, that’s how he’s practicing. Tonight I think he deserves it.”
In 18 games this season, Ramo is 8-5-1 with a 2.60 goals against average, a .906 save percentage and two shutouts.
Here are the projected lines:
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Chris Higgins - Linden Vey - Radim Vrbata
Derek Dorsett - Shawn Matthias - Zack Kassian
Ronalds Kenins - Bo Horvat - Jannik Hansen
Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev
Dan Hamhuis - Luca Sbisa
Ryan Stanton - Adam Clendening
Scratched: Yannick Weber, Brandon McMillan
Injured: Frank Corrado (upper body), Nick Bonino (lower body), Kevin Bieksa (broken hand), Brad Richardson (ankle)
Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma – Mikael Backlund – David Jones
Mason Raymond – Josh Jooris – Curtis Glencross
Paul Byron – Matt Stajan – Joe Colborne
Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie
Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman
Raphael Diaz – Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Corey Potter, Brandon Bollig, David Wolf
Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Ladislav Smid (upper body)
Status update: After playing Friday, Vancouver didn’t take to the ice for a morning skate.
Who’s hot: With a hat trick against the Boston Bruins on Friday, Matthias has five goals in his past four games for Vancouver. … Raymond has five goals in his past five games for the Flames.