SUN Hockey Pool

McCarty a cut above

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

The flashy prize was atop Darren McCarty's head.

The real trophy was above his right eye.

A hard hat-worthy performance from the gritty Calgary Flames right winger was made even more complete last night thanks to six stitches required to close a gash from his first-period fight with Sheldon Souray.

"To get a five-minute powerplay, I'll take a few stitches any time," said McCarty, donning the golden hat after his team's 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Because Souray had inflicted damage with the wrist brace he's donning, the Montreal defenceman was given a second major and game misconduct.

McCarty left the ice a bloody mess from the gash but returned for the second period to see his team in the lead.

"That's huge. Also, it took them down to five 'D'," McCarty said. "When you come from somewhere else, this is a tough place to play, and when you've got to play with five 'D' (it's harder). You could tell they were wavering a bit and we took advantage of it."

Montreal was held without a shot on goal for some 20 minutes after the fight. Though he needed silk work, McCarty harboured no bitterness toward Souray.

"He's a good guy, a guy I respect ..." McCarty said. "I thought it was a good fight. It was their call because I couldn't tell until I saw it on the replay that's what cut me.

"If it was a punch that cut me, fine, that's what happens.

"He's coming off a wrist injury, so he wears a wrist brace."

Besides, an ejection wasn't the goal McCarty was after.

He was simply trying to spark his team, and did a masterful job according to assistant coach Jim Playfair.

"Darren understands real well these games, what they mean at this point of the season," Playfair said.

"He'd seen the game was in the balance and did a really good job of lighting a fire under our group."


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