NEWARK, N.J. — For seven years, Miikka Kiprusoff was a constant in net for the Calgary Flames. Karri Ramo might be the next in line.
Ramo made 31 saves to record his second NHL shutout and Mark Giordano scored the only goal as the Flames topped the New Jersey Devils 1-0 on Monday night.
“He reminds me of (Kiprusoff),” Giordano said of Ramo. “His style is similar. They’re quick guys. We really have a lot of confidence in our goaltending.”
Calgary improved to 34-38-7 overall, including 16-20-4 on the road this season.
“It’s just a hard-working group,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “We’re going to fight until the last second. I love this group.”
Cory Schneider stopped 21 of 22 shots for New Jersey, which fell to 34-29-16. New Jersey’s loss also allowed the New York Rangers to clinch a playoff berth.
Both Calgary and the Devils have three games remaining this season. The Devils are three points behind Columbus for the last playoff spot in the East.
“In my opinion, I think we’re going to get one more chance (to make the playoffs),” New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr said. “It’s too strange to finish like that. You’ve got to believe. It wouldn’t make any sense to finish like that. We dominated. Just keep the faith and I think we’re going to get one more chance in my opinion. We’ll see if I’m right or wrong.”
Neither the Flames nor Devils scored until Giordano’s power-play goal 23 seconds into the third as both teams were unable to take advantage of opportunities.
Giordano’s goal, his 14th of the season, was a one-timer off a feed from Jiri Hudler.
“You like those (passes),” Giordano said. “Rolling pucks, goalies have (a tough time) picking it up (and) I picked it up pretty (well).”
While Giordano celebrated his good fortune, the Devils lamented their misfortune.
The Devils outshot Calgary 22-16 through two periods, and finished with a 31-22 advantage. New Jersey also did not allow the Flames a shot on goal in a 15-minute span between the first and second periods.
“(We) had chances and opportunities and didn’t stick it in the back of the net,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. “A common theme, (we) don’t score easily and we hadn’t all year. We’re at mercy of games like this where margin of error is very small. I thought defensively we were very good, but when you can’t score it’s hard to win.”
New Jersey had a goal disallowed with 1:26 left in the first, as referee Brad Watson waved off what would have been a game-opening score by Ryan Carter. The ruling was upheld by a video review by the NHL in Toronto. Replays showed Carter kicked the puck, but it was inconclusive whether the Devils left wing was able to get his stick on it before it rolled under Ramo.
“I saw it off my foot and between the goaltender’s pads, I got a piece of it (with my stick) and that’s what propelled it in,” Carter said. “I don’t think (the review in Toronto is) how I saw it. That’s how it was.”
Calgary was unable to convert on four power plays in the first two periods, and rookie left wing Kenny Agostino’s semi-breakaway with 1:34 left in the second was sticked away by Schneider. The play began as New Jersey right wing Tuomo Ruutu committed a turnover in the offensive zone, and ended with Devils defenceman Jon Merrill committing a slashing minor as he tried to affect the shot attempt.
“It’s a great learning experience for them,” Hartley said of the Flames rookies, who have had to play at even strength and on specialty teams this season. “Kenny had a good game.
“I felt he generated scoring chances out there.”
Merrill’s slash led directly to Giordano’s goal. Calgary finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while New Jersey was 0-for-3.