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NHL Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames Faced With Tough Decision in Goal

Ortio Calgary Flames 2014-15

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get right to it: head coach Bob Hartley needs to start Jonas Hiller over Joni Ortio in the Calgary Flames’ game against the San Jose Sharks Saturday.

For the first half of the 2014-15 NHL season, Hartley had the choice of Hiller or Karri Ramo, and it seemed like if you won the previous game, you were in net next time around.  Since taking a knee to the head on Jan. 7, Ramo has been placed on injured reserve, resulting in the Flames calling up Ortio from the team’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Flames. Now, Ortio has had two-straight starts for Calgary, and two-consecutive wins. The team plays the Sharks on Saturday, and it’s a tough choice for Hartley in regards to his starting goaltender, but it should be Hiller who gets the start against the Sharks.

Jonas Hiller is more than just a veteran NHL goaltender, he’s a veteran Pacific Division goaltender, which is more helpful than it may seem. Before signing with the Flames in the summer, Hiller spent seven seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, playing against the Sharks on 21 different occasions over that time. In those 21 games, Hiller had a combined save percentage of 91.8, and a goals against average of 2.24; those are decent numbers, especially when considering San Jose has been a rather good team for much of Hiller’s career. He’s also been resting for a while too, and will be itching to get back in net having not played since Jan. 9. Hiller will naturally be more comfortable playing in San Jose’s building, and should give his team a better chance to win the game.

Joni Ortio has been outstanding in his most recent stint with the Flames, allowing just one goal and making 63 saves in two games. He gave his team much-needed momentum heading into their five-game road trip and really couldn’t have made a better case for himself as to why he should get the start Saturday.

It just all comes down to experience. San Jose is a team that Calgary is chasing in the standings, and although Ortio shutout the Vancouver Canucks this season, Hiller gives the team a better chance to win. Because Ortio has won two-straight and is playing very well, there is a chance that he will become complacent, and when playing the Sharks, that is something you cannot do.

The Flames have passed the halfway mark of the season, and are just barley sitting out of the playoff picture. It’s games like this one against the Sharks that the team needs to win in order to give themselves a shot at the postseason.

Shaun Lavery is a Calgary Flames writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google