Danis makes 24 saves, Barons shut out division rival Heat

The Canadian Press

2/9/2012 11:58:03 PM

CALGARY -- Edmonton Oilers prospect Linus Omark said he felt rough in his return to action after a long layoff.

The Oklahoma City Barons thought he looked just fine.

Omark provided the offensive spark with a goal and an assist while goaltender Yann Danis made 24 saves for his fifth shutout, leading the City Barons to a 4-0 American Hockey League victory over the Abbotsford Heat on Thursday.

Omark had missed 12 weeks of action with a broken ankle.

"To be honest, it felt pretty lousy through the first period, but I was prepared for that as I've only practiced two times with the team full contact," Omark said.

Known for his creativity on shootouts, with the spin-a-rama one of his most talked about moves, Omark took a more conventional approach on his goal 2:28 into the third period. Racing down the wing on a two-on-one, Omark ripped a shot over the glove of goaltender Henrik Karlsson to make it 3-0 for the visitors.

"It was a great feeling to get that one," said Omark, who has two goals and seven assists in his eight AHL games. "I know Swedish goalies are always going down pretty fast so I just tried to shoot high."

In his first game action since being injured Nov. 16 against Rockford, Omark made a positive impression on Barons coach Todd Nelson.

"The biggest thing with Linus is just getting his game shape back," nelson said. "You can ride the bike all you want, you skate all you want, but until you're getting bumped out there on the ice and giving and throwing hits, that's game shape.

"He's just going to get better and better as we go along."

Mark Arcobello, Josh Green and Hunter Tremblay also scored for Oklahoma City (31-12-5) in the matchup of the AHL affiliates of Alberta's rival NHL teams. Abbotsford is affiliated with the Calgary Flames.

The West Division-leading Barons have won eight of their last nine and open up a nine-point lead on second place Houston. Abbotsford (26-19-3), which has lost eight of its last 10, rank third in the division, 12 points back of Oklahoma City.

Danis, who entered the night as the AHL's leading goaltender with a 2.04 goals against average, collects his 20th win of the season.

With 49 NHL games to his credit, Danis signed a one year contract with Oklahoma City last summer after playing with Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL last season.

"We knew going into this thing, their goaltending is the best in the league and it showed tonight. If there's an MVP for the league, for me, it's him. I thought he was outstanding," said Heat coach Troy Ward.

At the other end, Karlsson had 21 saves as he picked up the loss in his first AHL appearance. Karlsson was assigned to Abbotsford on Feb. 5 by the Flames for a two-week conditioning stint.

"It's good to be back on the ice, but I have no excuses, I can play much better and I have to do that on Saturday," said Karlsson, who is working his way back from a knee injury suffered Dec. 4 while playing in a game for the Flames.

Ward said it was a tough situation for Karlsson given how much of the play over the first two periods was in the Oklahoma City end.

"When you manage the puck that well for 37, 38 minutes and he doesn't see a lot of quality chances and then when he sees them, they're big ones, that's unfair to a goalie," Ward said.

Arcobello opened up the scoring at 12:29 of the second period on a turnover, slicing through the slot and zipping a backhand over Karlsson's shoulder.

On another turnover in front of the net with 28 seconds left in the period, Green made it 2-0, ripping a shot under the crossbar.

Notes: The Barons have won five of seven meetings with the Heat this year. The two division rivals will conclude their season series Saturday night in Abbotsford... It was the second straight year the two teams have met at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary... Karlsson was the fourth goaltender used by the Heat this season... Abbotsford hadn't played since Saturday while Oklahoma City's last game was its 3-1 loss to Charlotte last Friday.