EDMONTON -- Calgary Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller was barely settled into his seat as a backup when called into the game against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Saturday.
Hiller entered at 58 seconds after starting goaltender Karri Ramo sustained a lower-body injury and made 27 saves in relief to help the Calgary Flames to a 4-0 win. It was the longest relief appearance in a team-shared shutout in NHL history.
“You have a little different mindset if you are not starting,” Hiller said. “The good thing is that it was early so I was still warm from the warm-up. You go from being a spectator to suddenly being the goalie out there, but it worked out well.”
Markus Granlund had two goals and Joe Colborne and Dennis Wideman scored for Calgary, which has three games remaining in the regular season. Wideman had two assists.
Goaltender Ben Scrivens made 25 saves for Edmonton, which has three games remaining.
“Hiller came in and did a good job, but we were still a little scrambly in the first period,” Wideman said. “It took us a while to get our legs. They had some chances, but [Hiller] stood tall for us and made some great saves.”
The win kept the Flames (43-29-7) third in the Pacific Division standings, one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings. Calgary swept the season series against Edmonton (23-43-13), winning all five games. The Oilers have lost three in a row.
“With the way that everyone else is playing around us and how tight it is, this was pretty much a must-win for us,” Wideman said. “We definitely couldn’t afford to drop this one. We saw Winnipeg had won earlier [Saturday] and Los Angeles won, so we knew we had to win this game.”
Ramo did not face a shot before leaving the game. The Flames goaltender was favoring his left leg after going down on a shot attempt that went wide. Ramo had to be helped off the ice and did not return.
“Obviously it’s a lower-body [injury],” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “He’s day-to-day. At the same time, Jonas Hiller came in, and what a clutch performance. As soon as he got in, he made three, four saves in a row. That was the turning point in the game, even though it was real early. He was real strong for us.”
Colborne opened the scoring 1:59 into the first period when his shot bounced off his skate and past Scrivens. Mason Raymond took the initial shot, which was kicked away, but then hit Colborne and bounced into the net.
The Oilers had their opportunities to tie the game in the period and had 11 shots against Hiller. Forward Taylor Hall hit the goal post on an attempt from the edge of the faceoff circle.
Hall centered the Oilers’ top line after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a late scratch due to a lower-body injury.
“I don’t think we played bad, I thought the effort was there,” Hall said. “We really wanted to win this one. To take two points from Calgary would have been a really nice treat for the season we’ve had.”
Granlund gave Calgary a 2-0 lead at 17:56 of the second period, taking a cross-crease pass from Josh Jooris and lifting a shot over Scrivens.
Wideman scored a power-play goal at 2:16 of the third period to give Calgary a 3-0 lead. The Flames defenseman one-timed a shot from the point that beat Scrivens in off the goal post.
The goal was scored five seconds into a cross-checking penalty to Oilers defenseman Keith Aulie.
“The score doesn’t indicate it, but overall, I thought we did a pretty good job,” Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. “The difference in the game [was] they capitalized on their opportunities. We had some excellent chances, but we missed the net. There were two times where we had players all alone by themselves in front of the net against the goalie and we never got a shot on net. So the score could have been a lot different. I think once they scored their third goal, their power-play goal, our bench got a bit deflated.”
Granlund scored at 18:52 of the third period to round out the scoring, catching Scrivens out of his net and shooting the puck past him before he was able to scramble back.
“They came hard at us and had some good chances,” Flames defenseman Kris Russell said. “Hiller had to come in and make some big stops for us. I thought as the game went on, we played a lot better. We played the way we needed to play and obviously it is a huge two points.”
Calgary hosts the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday and Los Angeles on Thursday before concluding the regular season at the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.