SUN Hockey Pool

Time to Yelle and scream

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

BOSTON -- Shortly after they lost Stephane Yelle, they essentially lost the game.

But it was the sickening ankle injury their gritty centre suffered that stood out as the Calgary Flames' four-game eastern road trip came to a disastrous end during a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden last night.

Yelle slid hard into the boards while on his knees in the offensive zone and his right leg buckled under the pressure, leaving him afraid to move on the ice.

"He's a warrior out there. He battles every shift. Hopefully he'll be all right," said a concerned Daymond Langkow.

"He was in a lot of pain. It's definitely unfortunate, he's a huge part of our team."

Rumours have it pegged as a fractured ankle but the Flames said he was able to fly home with the team and will be evaluated in Calgary.

That Yelle didn't go into shock immediately is a testament to his toughness.

The fact the Bruins notched their third goal -- ultimately the game-winner -- a minute later after Dion Phaneuf took a hooking penalty, showed how difficult it was for Yelle's teammates to spring right back after watching him being carted away.

The Flames were down 2-1 after dominating the second period following a listless opening frame.

"I thought we were playing really well. Then Steph goes down, they gain possession of the puck and it ends up in our net," said downcast Flames winger Jeff Friesen, sitting alone on a folding metal chair in the dressing room to face the media. "It kinda deflated us. It's tough to lose."

Friesen, who went from the All-Business tie to the All-Alone chair because of a miscue that led to a Bruins lead on the game's first shift, wasn't sure what to think when he saw Yelle go down.

"You know he's in pain if a guy can't get up, especially a player like that. Something's really wrong if he can't physically get up," said Friesen.

"We were obviously still trying to win the game but we had a letdown and they scored. It's not the way we need to handle it. Hopefully, he's all right."

It took just 18 seconds for the Bruins to give their fans something to cheer about. A few hours after touching the TD Banknorth Garden ice for the first time this season, Boston charged into the lead when Friesen's errant pass to Tony Amonte just inside the Bruins blueline led to a 2-on-1 rush the other way. Former Flame Marc Savard dished to Brad Boyes, who easily beat Miikka Kiprusoff.

"You never want it to happen," said Friesen. "I was reading the wrong play there and it's not acceptable. You've just got to take more responsibility and you can't make those plays. It seems like every time we do, it's a bounce in our net."

Calgary cut the Bruins' lead in half when Langkow roofed his shot from in close past Hannu Toivonen.

But in short succession, the Flames lost Yelle and then Glen Murray scored his second of the game as Boston regained control of their home-opener and sent Calgary's crew away with a loss.

"You look at the second period, I thought we definitely outplayed them," said Langkow. "It seemed like we were in their end a lot and had a lot of opportunities to score. Unfortunately we took a penalty at the end there -- I think that was the only penalty of the period -- we've got to kill that."

Alex Tanguay scored in the third period and the Flames made another late push in the final minutes but couldn't beat Toivonen.


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