Flames run into club under fire from brass

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Accused of lacking fire in their bellies, the Columbus Blue Jackets responded by dousing the Flames.

Losers of their last five games heading into last night's matchup against the Northwest Division leaders, the Jackets were called out by their coach and even given a pep talk from owner John H. McConnell yesterday.

They responded with a tenacious and nasty effort that ended in a 3-2 win at the Nationwide Arena.

"We knew as a team they were going to be fired up going into it," said Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr. "They've been challenged over the last couple of days, both in the room and in the paper. We read some things on the coach calling out some of his players to play more physical.

"They came out and played a hard game."

The nastiness, highlighted by a Rostislav Klesla hit that sent Flames forward Marcus Nilson over the boards and into his own bench, resulted in full-line skirmishes after many whistles. Players were even jabbing and shoving each other during TV time-outs, while the cameras were turned the other way.

Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant was impressed by the effort.

"I like the way they played with a lot of character tonight," said Gallant. "We really battled hard. It is important when the owner comes in and the team responds. We played one of our best games in a while.

"It was one of those games where it could have gone either way. Calgary is a great team and we got a big win tonight."

The Flames are always willing participants in the physical department and have been ramping up their own nastiness lately as they push toward the playoffs.

"Playing a high-intensity game, tempers are going to flare," said Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who exchanged blows with counterpart Klesla early in the second period. "It's big points for us and they're not playing to lose hockey games. There's lots of emotion, lots of intensity in games like this."

Jackets captain Adam Foote, who dished out a few face washes and hit Jarome Iginla from behind, said he'd like to see more of the same from his teammates even though the club is going to miss the playoffs.

"(The Flames) come out every night and bring it," said Foote. "If we come with that character every night, we will have a chance to win every night."


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