Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - Joni Ortio carried the Calgary Flames to their first win of 2015 and the young goaltender is expected to get another turn in net when his team visits the Arizona Coyotes for Thursday's matchup in the desert.
Ortio's first start of the season was a memorable one, as the 23-year-old netminder shut out the Vancouver Canucks and carried the Flames to a 1-0 victory. The close decision halted Calgary's 0-3-0 skid and gave the Flames their first win since picking up a fourth consecutive win on New Year's Eve against Edmonton.
With regular backup Karri Ramo injured, Ortio was recalled from Adirondack of the AHL on Friday and gave Jonas Hiller the night off. Ortio was peppered with 36 shots and, with the help of the post on several occasions, denied every one of them for his first career shutout.
"The guys did a heck of a job in front of me," Ortio said. "We kept them on the outside pretty much the whole game. They didn't get a lot of Grade-A chances."
Mikael Backlund provided the game-winning goal on Calgary's first shot.
The win was the Flames' first over Vancouver since March 3, 2013 and it moved Calgary within two points of the Canucks for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
Ortio has faced the Coyotes once in his brief career, dropping a 3-2 regulation decision in Arizona on March 15 of last season. The young Finn turned aside 23-of-26 shots in that setback.
The Flames are 3-0 so far in the five-game season series with the Coyotes and they notched a 5-2 win when the clubs last met on Dec. 2 in Calgary. Calgary also earned a 3-0 win in Arizona on Nov. 29 to halt a four-game road slide in this matchup and win for just the second time in 11 trips to Gila Rive Arena.
These teams will complete the 2014-15 series on April 7 at the Saddledome.
Arizona is well out of a playoff spot in the West and enters tonight having lost two straight and three of its last four games.
The Coyotes lost a 3-2 regulation decision Tuesday against San Jose to fall to 2-3-0 on six-game homestand which ends tonight. Arizona is 7-11-1 as the host this season.
Arizona was tied with the Sharks 2-2 heading into the third period, but Brenden Dillon tallied the game-winner at 5:15 of the final stanza. Dillon snapped a shot on net from the left point that hit off the left skate of Zbynek Michalek and made its way past Devan Dubnyk.
"That's a frustrating way to lose the game," said Dubnyk. "It's an unfortunate bounce that just didn't go our way. An inch closer in on his skate and it passes away from the net."
Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker each scored for the Coyotes, while Dubnyk gave up all three goals on 25 shots.
Dubnyk was traded Wednesday night to Minnesota in exchange for a 2015 third- round pick. He was 9-5-2 with a 2.72 goals against average in 19 games with the Coyotes this season.
Mike Smith will get the call in net tonight and the Coyotes are expected to recall Mike Lee from the East Coast Hockey League to serve as the backup. Smith is 6-6-1 with a 2.81 GAA in 13 lifetime starts against Calgary.
Following tonight's test, Arizona will head out on a eight-game road trip. The swing will keep the Coyotes away from Gila River Arena until they host Carolina on Feb. 5.