Flames defencemen grit it out for victory
Calgary defencemen Rhett Warrener and Dion Phaneuf were both injured in Game 3. But the tough duo both returned to the game after getting medical attention
by Aaron Vickers
It'll take more than a puck to the mouth to keep Calgary Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener out of action.
He'll have the dental bill to prove it.
After taking a point shot from Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg in the face late in the first period, the Shaunovon, Sask. native was forced to the dressing room temporarily.
Warrener returned to action midway through the second period, just in time to swat a bouncing puck on the goal line out of harm's way and save a goal.
"I was surprised to see Rhett back," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who recorded his first goal of the series in the 3-2 win to move Calgary to within one victory of evening up the series.
Perhaps more importantly, Warrener returned to the game before the loss of sophomore sensation Dion Phaneuf, who left the game after taking a punishing hit from Detroit forward Dan Cleary at 39 seconds of the first period – a play the Red Wings scored on.
A dazed Phaneuf was slow to get off the ice and was immediately shuttled to the dressing room before returning to the game midway through the third period with several stitches above his left eyebrow.
"Its part of the game," declared Phaneuf, who played over 25 minutes in the victory.
"You get cut, you come back. It''s a physical series, it's no secret. They play hard every shift and he caught me, but like I said its part of the game. You've got to keep battling, especially this time of year."
"Dion got hit hard, no doubt about it," defenseman Brad Stuart said after the game.
"Things like that are going to happen. This time of year, you see it a lot. Those aren't easy things to just shake off, especially if you get cut for stitches."
A strong example was set for rookie Mark Giordano, who scored the tying goal for the Flames. He admitted he was impressed with the heart shown by his teammates, especially in the later stages of the game.
"These guys are warriors and they know how important they are to this team," Giordano said. "They both battled through injuries and came right back and were a huge part in the last 10 minutes. I can't say enough about those two guys coming back tonight."
"For them to come back for us was big," added Stuart.
The Flames are also optimistic about the return of injured defenseman Robyn Regehr, who played just 11:15 in game two of the series Sunday before suffering an injury to the same knee that kept him out of the first meeting between the two teams.Regehr is currently listed as day-to-day, but the Flames hope he will suit up when Calgary hosts Detroit in game four of the series, slatedfor Thursday night at 7:30 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.