Jonas Hiller is out, and Karri Ramo is in.
Flames head coach Bob Hartley announced the starting goalie change on Friday afternoon — less than 24 hours after a 6-1 whipping in Game 1 of the Calgary-Anaheim series — opting to bench Hiller after he starred in an opening-round victory over Vancouver.
The decision probably won’t sit well with the Swiss netminder. Hiller had spoken at length prior to this series about relishing the chance to exact some revenge on the Ducks, who let him walk last summer after seven years with the organization. Hiller also finished the Canucks series with a sparking .931 save percentage, allowing just 11 goals on 159 shots.
But the end of the Canucks series proved the beginning of his downfall.
Hiller was hooked in the decisive Game 6, with Ramo stopping 17 of 19 shots in relief for the win. That led to questions about who would start the Anaheim series, ones that Hartley emphatically shot down by saying there was “no question” Hiller was the No. 1.
But last night, Hiller allowed three goals on 14 shots and was hooked early in the second period. Ramo fared slightly better, allowing three goals on 21 shots.
While the change might be seen as a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, it really shouldn’t be. The Flames employed a goalie timeshare all season long, with Hiller starting 44 games to Ramo’s 32 (Joni Ortio got six.) That’s another reason why Hartley was asked about his starter for the Anaheim series; while he made a pretty definitive statement that Hiller is the No. 1, he also acknowledged he’s more than willing to turn to Ramo if need be.
“I’m very conformable with both goalies,” he said.