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Joni Be Good: Ortio makes 36 saves for first NHL shutout as Flames down Canucks

01/11/2015 12:44 EST | Updated 03/12/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - Joni Ortio had to overcome a lot more than the Vancouver Canucks to record the first shutout of his NHL career.

The rookie goalie made 36 saves to help the Calgary Flames blank their Pacific Division rivals 1-0 on Saturday following a 48-hour ordeal that included lost baggage, a cancelled flight and a new pair of contact lenses.

Ortio 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," said Ortio. "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."

To make matters worse, the airline lost his luggage — including his contacts — and sticks somewhere in transit.

"I don't know where, but I got replacement (contact lenses)," said Ortio. "My gear made it, thank God."

The 23-year-old shook all that off to help Calgary (22-18-3) snap a three-game losing streak and pick up its first victory over Vancouver since March 2013.

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.

"When I was growing up, when I was little I looked up to (Kiprusoff) a lot when he was playing back home for my hometown team and then when he came over I kept following him," said Ortio, who backed up Jonas Hiller in Friday's 6-5 loss to the Florida Panthers. "He's been a big influence on my career for sure.

"It makes it more special. I think it was about time someone shut out the Canucks."

Mikael Backlund scored in the first period for a Calgary team that came in 0-6-3 over its last nine against Vancouver.

"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," said Backlund. "Obviously it pumps us up when he makes some big saves and without him we wouldn't have won the game. He was player of the game for sure."

Eddie Lack stopped 22 shots for Vancouver (23-14-3), which has dropped two straight after going 5-1-1 over its previous seven outings.

Lack — who came in with a 3-0-0 career record against Calgary — and No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller both weren't feeling well on Saturday. Neither skated in the morning, but Lack was deemed the healthier of the two and got the nod.

"Sometimes I feel like you can have your best games when you're not feeling good," said Lack, his voice cracking. "If I didn't feel good enough to play I would never play."

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.

"All I gave them was the iron," he joked. "No, I got lucky there too but sometimes you just gotta earn your luck."

Vancouver continued to press late, but Calgary found a way to hang on late despite playing its second game in as many nights thanks to their rookie netminder.

"Great performance," said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. "I thought he was in control from the first shift, his rebound control was great, great focus, big win."

Calgary led 1-0 after a first period mostly dominated by the Canucks and the home side continued on the front foot in the second.

Daniel Sedin hit the Canucks' second post on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush 1:30 into the period before Jannik Hansen rang another shot off the crossbar a few minutes later.

Lack then had to be sharp after a puck in front of the Vancouver goal pinballed to Calgary's Brandon Bollig, who fired a quick shot on target.

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.

Daniel Sedin then had another chance late in the period, only to have Ortio again foil his effort — this time on a 2-on-1 break with the teams playing 4-on-4.

"It's frustrating," said Henrik Sedin, whose team was 2-3-0 on its five-game homestand. "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. Backlund now has three goals and two assists in three games after missing the previous 29 following abdominal surgery.

Ortio faced 15 shots in the first period and had to be sharp with about seven minutes to go, stopping Nick Bonino at the side of the net after he took a nice feed from Chris Higgins.

Both teams hit posts late in the period, with Flames forward Sean Monahan pinging a shot behind Lack before Bonino did the same against Ortio, who will have quite a story to tell about his first NHL shutout when his career's done.

"I guess I needed that adversity," he said. "Stuff happens and you just have to put it behind you and not let it affect you."

Notes: Calgary's last win at Rogers Arena before Saturday was all the way back on Dec. 23, 2011, when the Flames beat the Canucks 3-1. ... Vancouver now heads out on the road for five next five games, beginning Tuesday against the Nashville Predators. ... The Flames played their first of a five-game road trip that continues Thursday when they visit the Arizona Coyotes. ... Canucks defenceman Frank Corrado made his season debut after being called up from the AHL, taking the spot of Yannick Weber. ... Canucks forward Radim Vrbata was named to the NHL all-star game on Saturday, while Flames defenceman Mark Giordano will also play in the showcase event. Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau will take part in the skills competition.

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