D-men step up to clip Wings

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:03 PM ET


 Move over, Derian Hatcher.

 Step aside Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider.

 Robyn Regehr and the rest of the Calgary Flames blueline crew are making a name for themselves in these playoffs.

 Plagued by injuries, yet tasked with containing a potent Detroit Red Wings offence, the Flames d-men have done their best to answer the call.

 With veteran Rhett Warrener sidelined with an injury, and doubtful for tonight's Game 4, the young Flames rearguards -- led by Regehr -- turned in a solid performance in Tuesday's Game 3 win.

 Their mere 61 games of playoff experience didn't deter them one iota against Detroit's Hall-of-Famers on offence.

 "To be quite honest, I'm proud of the way they've played and the way they've handled it," said Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter. "You're putting them in situations that they're not used to or they've never been in. So it's a little bit 'by fire' for them."

 The Flames were paced by the outstanding efforts of Regehr and Jordan Leopold.

 "Leo and I have been able to play together all year and feel very comfortable with one another," Regehr said. "We expect a lot from each other as a pair and I think the coaching staff also expects a lot from us. So we have to bring our best game each and every night.

 "We have to. Guys that are in the lineup have to pick up the slack for the guys that are missing. You can't think about the injuries (to Warrener, Toni Lydman and Denis Gauthier) that have happened."

 Instead, Regehr went out and continued to stake his place among the promising elite, skating away with the most ice time logged on either team (28:30) and with the Flames' green hard hat as the hardest-working player.

 "His responsibility is to become the next Derian Hatcher of the National Hockey League," assistant coach Jim Playfair said. "He has it in him.

 "His age is right. And his time in the (NHL) is right. And it's just a matter of him recognizing what the steps are and Darryl pushing him in the right direction."


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