BAERTSCHI'S CONFIDENCE GROWING EACH GAME
When he was first recalled by the Flames in the spring of 2012, Sven Baertschi was all offence. The 2011 first round draft pick scored three goals in a five-game cup of coffee with the Flames and fired 10 shots on net in that span.
Defensive play, it is safe to say, wasn't on his mind a whole lot.
Now, 31 games into his NHL career, it's a different story. Baertschi has put far more emphasis on his play in the neutral and defensive zones, working diligently at becoming more responsible on both sides of the puck.
"Even as a winger, say you're the first man back - you play the man down low and you have to know what you're doing.
"For me, that's an important thing right now. It's a learning process and I feel like it's getting better and better."
At 5-foot-11 and 190-pounds, the Swiss winger isn't what you would call physically intimidating. And he knows that. But he understands the importance of asserting himself in puck battles, along the boards and in the corners. He wants to make sure other players know he isn't going to shy away from the physical side of the game.
"You want to defend yourself out there. As a smaller and younger guy, you don't want to be kicked around. You have to defend your space and make sure that they can't push you around out there."
That kind of edge will come in handy tomorrow night. The San Jose Sharks are a hulking bunch, with only four players under 6-feet and just one player under 190-pounds. They have an aggressive forecheck and like to wear opponents down physically.
"It will be a tough battle. We have to be ready."
RAMO GETS THE CALL IN SAN JOSE
Head coach Bob Hartley has announced that Karri Ramo will get the start in net in San Jose on Saturday night. It will be the goaltender's first game since Oct. 3 when he played in Washington.
"It's been a couple of weeks but that's the case. You just have to be focused on the simple things," Ramo said. "Always when you play, it's exciting. I just have to make sure that I keep doing my own thing."
That goal pushed the Olomouc, CZE native's point streak to six-games, tying a career-high. He has recorded three goals and five assists in the opening six games of the year and leads the team in scoring.
"He's a great playmaker," Baertschi said of his linemate. "I feel like I really understand the way he plays so for me it's easy to read what he's going to do out there.
"But there are still times he surprises me. He's such a smart player and he can make plays you're not expecting. There may be an obvious play but he chooses to do the other play, the harder play. And it always works."
The Flames signed the winger as a free agent in the summer of 2012.
Sean Monahan leads the team in goals scored with 4 and in shooting percentage (30.8%).
Lee Stempniak leads the team in shots with 26 and short-handed goals with 1.
Curtis Glencross leads the team in game-winning goals with 2.
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