Ortio earns first NHL shutout as Flames edge Canucks 1-0
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Joni Ortio had to overcome a lot more than the Vancouver Canucks on his way to the first shutout of his NHL career.
Ortio made 36 saves for his first NHL shutout, leading the Calgary Flames past the Canucks 1-0 on Saturday night.
The win capped a 48-hour ordeal for Ortio that included lost baggage, a cancelled flight and a new pair of contact lenses. He was recalled by the Flames from their AHL affiliate on Wednesday after Karri Ramo went down with an injury, but didn’t join the team until Friday afternoon.
”It wasn’t fun, I’ll tell you that much,” Ortio said. ”There was a huge snowstorm in Chicago and I kind of got stranded there and cancelled my flight and I went through Toronto and Winnipeg on my way to Calgary.
”I know shorter routes than that.”
Ortio also said the airline lost his luggage – including his contacts – and sticks.
”I don’t know where, but I got replacement (contact lenses),” Ortio said. ”My gear made it, thank God.”
Ortio – who played his first game in the NHL this season and just the 10th of his career – is also the first Flames goalie to shut out the Canucks since Miikka Kiprusoff did it in a 1-0 victory back on Nov. 5, 2005.
The pair also just happen to both be from Turku, Finland.
”He’s been a big influence on my career, for sure,” Ortio said. ”It makes it more special. I think it was about time someone shut out the Canucks.”
The Flames came in having lost nine straight against Vancouver (0-6-3), and hadn’t beaten the Canucks since a 4-2 victory on March 3, 2013, at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
”Joni didn’t have it easy coming in here, tough couple travel days and didn’t get much sleep so it was great to see him have a great performance,” Calgary’s Mikael Backlund said. ”Obviously it pumps us up when he makes some big saves and without him we wouldn’t have won the game.”
Eddie Lack stopped 22 shots for Vancouver, which has dropped two straight after going 5-1-1 in its previous seven outings.
Lack, who came in with a 3-0-0 career record against Calgary, got the start ahead of No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller, who wasn’t feeling well but sat on Vancouver’s bench as the backup. Lack, however, was also feeling a bit ill.
”Sometimes I feel like you can have your best games when you’re not feeling good,” said Lack, his voice cracking.
Still trailing 1-0 after giving up a goal early in the first and in possession of a 28-14 shot edge through two periods, the Canucks came out hard in the third, but Ortio was there when he had to be after Vancouver hit three posts in the game’s first 40 minutes.
Ortio improved to 5-4-0 in his brief NHL career – including a 2-1 loss in Vancouver during which he faced just 14 shots – but had the Canucks’ number in this one.
Daniel Sedin hit the Canucks’ second post of the night on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush 1:30 into the second period before Jannik Hansen rang another shot off the crossbar a few minutes later.
The Canucks thought they had tied the game with under five minutes to go, but the goal was waved off when Henrik Sedin was judged to have batted the puck in with a high stick. After his brother Daniel was stopped by Ortio in close, the puck popped up in the air and the Vancouver captain tapped the puck in while it was still above the crossbar.
The goal was waved off on the ice and confirmed by replay.
”It’s frustrating,” Henrik Sedin said. ”We know how big every point is. To not get two from this game is disappointing, for sure.”
The Flames didn’t have much of the puck in the first period, but grabbed a 1-0 lead at 5:38 on their first shot of the game when Backlund chipped a cross-crease feed from David Jones past Lack for his fourth of the season.
NOTES: Calgary’s last win at Rogers Arena before Saturday was on Dec. 23, 2011, when the Flames beat the Canucks 3-1. … Canucks D Frank Corrado made his season debut after being called up from the AHL’s Utica Comets. He took the spot of Yannick Weber. … Canucks F Radim Vrbata was named to the NHL All-Star game Saturday, while Flames D Mark Giordano will also play in the showcase event. Gaudreau will take part in the skills competition.