Canadiens-Lightning: Montreal Defeats Tampa Bay, Karri Ramo Steals the Show?

Jason HitelmanCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2009

OTTAWA - MARCH 11:  Karri Ramo #31 of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on during the game against the Ottawa Senators on March 11, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens desperately need to beat teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning on a consistent basis.

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Habs must take advantage of lesser teams. Tampa Bay has, once again, proven that they are one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Granted, they have Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St.-Louis, two elite NHL players. They also have a young, talented Steven Stamkos who will undoubtedly become a very proficient goal-scorer in due time.

Aside from a somewhat capable offence, they have a porous defense and terrible goaltending. In 19 games this season, young Karri Ramo has posted a dismal 3.55 GAA with a below-average .899 save percentage.

Why, then, was he the only effective player on the Tampa Bay Lightning last night?

While watching the game, I was convinced that there was something wrong with the ice at the Bell Centre: it must have been tilted. After all, I hadn't seen the Canadiens dominate an opponent offensively since, well, probably some time last season. The Habs out shot the Bolts 36-19.

This was the first time that the Habs had oushot an opponent since Mar. 4 against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately, outshooting an opponent doesn't always directly translate to beating them.

Patrick Lalime, with an incredible display of goaltending prowess, led his team to a 5-1 victory that night.

Last night was different. Throughout most of the game, there were no opportunities for the Lightning to capitalize upon. Apart from two defensive slip-ups in the third period, the Canadiens played a perfect home game.

Vincent Lecavalier looked uninterested; Martin St.-Louis was invisible; Karri Ramo was incredible!

Not only was he peppered with 36 shots, at least 15 of those shots were difficult ones to save. To say that he kept his team in the game would be a major understatement.

I have to say that the only reason that I am praising Ramo so much is because I feel slighted as a Habs fan.

I've been waiting so long for the Canadiens to snap out of their funk and on the night when they finally click, they get forced into overtime by a sub-par goalie playing the game of his life.

My head almost exploded last night. In a game that the Montreal Canadiens did everything right, Karri Ramo, and Ramo alone, nearly stole a point from them.

Thankfully, Saku Koivu preserved my sanity when he scored in overtime.



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