Young Flames play host to Islanders

8:25 AM, Mar 7, 2014   |    comments
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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames are giving their future a chance to perform and had to like what they saw last time out.

The Flames take aim at a second straight victory on Friday night as they welcome the New York Islanders to town.

Not expected to contend for a playoff spot down the stretch, the Flames are giving a number of inexperienced players a chance at the NHL level. That includes goaltender Joni Ortio, who picked up his first career victory in his second NHL start with Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

The 22-year-old made 30 saves and had a shutout bid spoiled when he allowed a goal with 9:36 remaining. Still, he figures to get a solid workload in the near future after Calgary traded 27-year-old netminder Reto Berra to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday for a second-round pick in the 2014 draft.

Fellow netminder Karri Ramo remains out with a sprained right MCL and the Flames recalled journeyman Joey MacDonald from the minors to serve as the backup.

Ortio was aided on Wednesday by a number of skaters he spent time this season with in the American Hockey League. Markus Granlund scored his first NHL goal in his fourth career game and both Corban Knight and Max Reinhart found their way into the lineup. Knight made his NHL debut and Reinhart had an assist for his fourth career point in 16 NHL games.

"The way the younger guys played tonight is amazing. It's a joy to watch them do as well as they did. They've been working hard and playing really hard down there," said Ortio, who was then asked if he was thinking about a shutout.

"I was trying to get there. I tried to block it out, but now that I didn't get it at least I have something to wait for in the future."

Joe Colborne and Mike Cammalleri, who the Flames did not trade prior to Wednesday's deadline, also had goals, while rookie Sean Monahan and captain Mark Giordano notched two assists each.

The Flames, who had lost four of six coming in, also traded veteran winger Lee Stempniak to Pittsburgh before the game and then lost center Jiri Hudler during the game with an upper-body injury.

The Flames snapped a three-game slide to the Islanders by winning the first of two meetings this season by a 4-2 score in New York on Feb. 6. Calgary, though, has lost three of its past four at home to the Isles.

The Islanders are in action for a second night in a row, having dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. New York yielded the final three goals after taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, with the winner coming 2:29 into the extra frame.

Frans Nielsen and Anders Lee scored for the Islanders, who were coming off an overtime win against Winnipeg but lost for the fifth time in seven games. Evgeni Nabokov surrendered three goals on 29 shots.

"At some point, they're going to have to realize those little things, the moment you stop moving your feet or get out of position it's going to cost you," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said.

New York will conclude a four-game road trip on Monday in Vancouver and hope that Lee can continue his surge. The 23-year-old has scored in back-to-back games and has four goals and an assist in five contests this season.

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