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Flames goalie stuffs former team in 4-1 win

The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- Karri Ramo downplayed it. He said it did not matter.

It did not look like it.

The shunned former Tampa Bay goaltender shut down the playoff-bound Lightning on Thursday night at Tampa Bay Times Forum as the Calgary Flames, playing out the schedule during a long late-season road swing, seized upon two crucial mistakes to claim a 4-1 victory.

Calgary had lost two straight and three of four as it endures six of its final eight games on the road.

Tampa Bay had won three of its last four and had nabbed second place in the Atlantic Division with a win on Tuesday but was lethargic against Calgary.

Gaining confidence and helped by 24 blocked shots, Ramo made 31 saves, several of the them acrobatic as the Lightning began to swarm in the third period. But a costly penalty to Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer sapped Tampa Bay's momentum and Calgary got two late goals from left winger Curtis Glencross to seal it.

"It was pretty normal, really," said Ramo, who played parts of three seasons with Tampa Bay but left after being relegated to the minors in 2009-10. "I thought it would be a little bit different, but things have changed so much I didn't even recognize the rink anymore."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper credited Calgary's opportunism and Ramo's performance but bemoaned his team's approach.

Tampa Bay (42-26-9) had an eight-game home point streak snapped and squandered its game in hand over the Canadiens, whom they beat on Tuesday. Both teams now have 93 points in 77 games.

"Players in the room have to take a little accountability for themselves to show up ready to play," Cooper said. "Preparation, work ethic, they've got to bring that and mentally I didn't think we were all there the first period and that was unfortunate."

Lightning center and captain Steven Stamkos said he was troubled by his team's tendency for letdowns against teams below them in the standing.

"This should be a wakeup call for us," he said. "It's been a couple months that is so inconsistent: big games we play well and other teams we play (poorly)."

Calgary (32-38-7) took a 2-0 lead in the second period by turning two woeful clearing attempts into scores during a 15-second span.

Flames left winger Mike Cammalleri punished Tampa Bay for the first make, scoring his 25th goal of the season into an empty-net after intercepting an attempted clear from goaltender Ben Bishop along the boards.

With 9:25 left in the period, Calgary center Christopher Breen blunted an attempted Lightning breakout and blasted a shot that right winger Kevin Westgarth tipped in after gaining position on Bewer and Mike Barberio. The goal was Westgarth's fourth of the season and Breen's first assist.

"This is huge," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "The Lightning were playing so well. You get two goals on the road off your forecheck. We stayed in the game, but we knew they would keep coming."

Tampa Bay pulled within 2-1 with 4:04 left in the second period when rookie left winger Ondrej Palat punctuated several minutes of sustained pressure with his 20th goal of the season.

Palat fired a shot that Ramo saved, then cycled to the net as defenseman Matt Carle recovered and shoveled back on net. Palat was able to flip the puck on edge and into the goal as Ramo scrambled back into position.

Carle registered his 29th assist and center Ryan Callahan his 19th.

Callahan had missed a prime chance to score less than five minutes into the period when skated from behind the net and onto a puck that glanced softly off the pipe, but he was unable to guide it back in front of the net before defenseman Chris Butler poked it away.

Hartley politely disagreed with Ramo's assessment of his pregame motivations. Mike Smith, who started in a tandem with Ramo in Tampa Bay, beat the Lightning for Phoenix in a shootout in March.

"I think it was big," Hartley said. "Any player, but more for a goalie, its easier mental preparation when you are playing against your old team."

Glencross scored his 11th goal of the season on the power play after Brewer penalty with 1:56 left -- with assists from Cammalleri and defenseman Kris Russell -- and an empty-netter after a takeaway in the final 15 seconds.

Bishop finished with 21 saves.

NOTES: Lightning D Mike Kostka is out indefinitely after sustaining a concussion following a blow to the head from Montreal D Douglas Murray on Tuesday. Murray was suspended for three games on Thursday. "I know that Murray is not known as a dirty player, but I think we can all agree that was a pretty dirty hit, kind of one of the worst that I've seen live," Lightning C Steven Stamkos told the Tampa Tribune. ... Lightning C Tyler Johnson is the second player in NHL history with five short-handed goals and five power-play goals in his rookie season, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Dennis Maruk did it first with the California Golden Seals in 1975-76. ... D Mike Giordano was nominated by the Calgary chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association for the Bill Masterton Award, which honors the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. ... Calgary D Christopher Breen collected his first NHL point -- in his seventh career game -- with a first-period assist.
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