DALLAS — Karri Ramo said he merely is getting in the way of the puck.
Ramo finished with 35 saves to help the Calgary Flames beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 Thursday night for their seventh straight win.
“Right now, (the puck is) hitting (me), so hopefully it keeps this way,” Ramo said.
Sean Monahan, Dougie Hamilton and Mason Raymond scored for Calgary.
Ramo had 17 saves in the third period and outplayed Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen to win his fifth in a row. Ramo has allowed 11 goals in those five games.
Flames coach Bob Hartley gave Ramo more credit.
“Especially in that third period, Karri came up with big saves. We saw Jamie Benn and (Tyler) Seguin and (Jason) Spezza and company making a big push, and we were under siege and he came up with some big clutch saves.
“We blocked lots of shots too (13), but I thought that Karri was the difference.”
Benn leads the league with 20 goals.
“(Ramo) was pretty good. I think he saw a lot of the shots that we put at him, and any goalie in this league will stop those.”
“He was pretty good,” Benn said. “I think he saw a lot of the shots that we put at him, and any goalie in this league will stop those.”
Johnny Oduya scored for Dallas and Lehtonen had 24 saves while snapping a career-best eight-game winning streak. The Stars, 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, still lead the NHL with 48 points.
One of the other losses in that stretch was at Calgary on Dec. 1, when the Flames overcame a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime. That victory started Calgary’s current winning streak.
“I felt that we played a more complete game than our win at home against the Stars,” Hartley said. “Sometimes you play a full 60 minutes, sometimes you play 40 (and) you have enough to win.”
Ramo explained his team’s improvement after an 8-14-2 start.
“We’re playing way better as a five-man unit,” he said. “Our D and forwards have been playing way better together, and we are cutting our turnovers. We are not giving them anything.
“Tonight, I saw the pucks and the pucks either went wide or were blocked. We killed the penalties.”
Oduya put Dallas on the scoreboard first with a short-handed goal with 7:16 left in the first period.
Monahan and Hamilton scored later in the first to put Calgary ahead. Raymond capped the scoring with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the second.
Both teams were 0 for 3 on the power play. Over the last 14 games, Calgary has been successful on only 2 of 47 (4 per cent) and Dallas has been held to 5 for 45 (11 per cent).
“We’re not making quick enough decisions,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of the power play, “and almost every decision we do make is the wrong one right now.”
Calgary didn’t have a shot on goal in the first 6:56, which included a power play.
Just 9 seconds into the Flames’ second power play, Oduya skated in from the left and put in the rebound off Ramo’s pads of a shot by Vernon Fiddler.
Calgary came back with goals from high in the faceoff circles by Monahan with 4:31 left and Hamilton with 28 seconds to go in the period.
Raymond made it 3-1 late in the second as he skated from right to left inside the blue line and sent a wrist shot past a screen and Lehtonen.