Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/24/13
The No. 1 netminder job for the Calgary Flames wasn’t going to just be handed to Karri Ramo. He had to earn it. Mission accomplished. Ramo the former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender won’t likely replace the retired Miikka Kiprusoff in the hearts of Flames fans but looks to be the man who’ll take over the starting goalkeeper duties when the regular season opens. Ramo made 27 saves in Monday’s 4-1 pre-season victory over the New York Rangers at the Saddledome. Not a bad Dome debut for the goalie. “Home is home you want to perform” Ramo said. “It’s the first of many hopefully now. Good thing it went well and you have to enjoy it now but you have to come back to work tomorrow.” The Flames conclude their exhibition schedule Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes and there are still plenty of decisions to be made before declaring a 23-man roster. Deciding the top netminder won’t take any agonizing. After his second consecutive top-notch outing it’s hard to imagine Ramo won’t be the man between the pipes when the 2013-14 campaign kicks off Oct. 3 in Washington against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. “That’s not my job to think about that” Ramo said. “It’s up to the coaches and management to think about that. I just have to make everything I can on the ice for them to choose me.” Following a six-shot opening period during which he could have flipped through much of War and Peace Ramo who spent four seasons in the KHL following an inglorious start to his NHL career with the Tampa Bay Lightning came up big when called upon often the rest of the way. He made a couple of dandy stops in the first portion of the second period first on Brandon Mashinter’s offering from the slot and then when Danny Kristo had a partial breakaway and carried that momentum all the way to the final buzzer. “Karri gave us a very big game. Solid. Came up with the big saves at the right time” head coach Bob Hartley said. “I felt that we protected the front of the net fairly well but the thing that I wanted to see from him is that he felt confident on every shot and that’s exactly what we saw. This is great.”
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