Reto Berra went from former fourth-round selection and an afterthought in the Jay Bouwmeester deal to show-stopping goaltender overnight. Literally. Prior to his dazzling performance against the Chicago Blackhawks, the storyline was that the Calgary Flames desperately needed to find a goalie if they wanted to remain competitive this season.
With Joey MacDonald and Karri Ramo both failing to provide a stable presence in net, Calgary released its secret weapon upon the hockey world.
Seemingly aware of something that no one else knew—that Berra was a pretty outstanding goalie—the Flames started him with alarming confidence against the Chicago Blackhawks. A tall task considering it was to be the netminder’s NHL debut. Berra rewarded Calgary with an outstanding start and provided the kind of netminding that had been missing from the equation all year long.
One game doesn’t make a super star in the NHL though. This isn’t pro-football. There are 82 games to a season here, and the best goaltenders give their team a chance to win 50 or 60 times a year.
While two games doesn’t make an All-Star either, Berra and the Flames will face a great measuring stick in the Minnesota Wild tonight. At the other end of the ice is fellow feel-good-story goaltender Josh Harding, who has been just about unbeatable this season. Can Berra match wits with Harding in this matchup of unlikely but seemingly strong goalies?
After a touch-and-go start, the Wild have come alive recently. They’ve won five out of their last six games, and also have a victory over the ‘Hawks under their belts as well. Minnesota is 8-4-3 on the season, which is better than Calgary’s .500 record, but with Berra in net suddenly it doesn’t seem like the floodgates are going to buckle on the Flames at any moment.
Is the high level of play that he showed against Chicago sustainable? Calgary sure hopes so, and it’ll get a glimpse into his future tonight when the team takes on the Wild in Minnesota.