SUN Hockey Pool

Yelle returns to form

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

Stephane Yelle showed no fear in his first game back.

The Calgary Flames' defensive specialist missed eight games with a bone bruise suffered while blocking a shot against Boston last month but that didn't stop him from putting his body on the line during a 1-0 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs at the Saddledome last night.

"During practice I stayed away from the front of the net but during the game, for some reason -- I don't know if it's instincts -- it's automatic," said Yelle, who was credited with three blocks on the night.

"I just go in there and do it.

"That's part of my job. I don't think I'll ever stop doing it."

During the eight games Yelle missed, the Flames allowed 3.6 goals against. Their average all season is 2.5.

In that same span, the Flames allowed 11 goals against while shorthanded. Last night, they stifled the league's fifth best powerplay unit, which was unsuccessful in five opportunities.

On a line with Darren McCarty and Tony Amonte -- who was credited with the winning goal -- Yelle's trio was solid against the Leafs' top scorers.

They were the first line on the ice for the Flames and the last ones out there while defending their one-goal margin till the clock hit zeroes.

McCarty, who was a sparkplug all night long, gave his partners credit in their return.

"I thought they played great," said McCarty. "Yelle hasn't played in a few weeks and his first assignment he draws is shutting down Mats Sundin.

"We're happy that we stuck to the gameplan and were able to shut down some of their big guns, shut down their powerplay -- I think that was key."

Yelle was modest about his efforts, which included more than four minutes of penalty killing.

"They've got a good powerplay," said Yelle.

"McCabe's is a big part of that powerplay with his big shot from the point. Tonight we did a good job of staying out of the box. When we had to kill, we did."

Amonte, who tipped Robyn Regehr's soft backhand for the lone goal on the night, was happy to make a difference in his first game back after sitting out a pair with sore ribs.

"It's nice to get back in there. Nice to contribute to a win for this club."


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