Gauthier handed clean slate

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:27 PM ET


 Having been benched for most of the third period in Game 3, Denis Gauthier vowed to make amends last night.

 "I don't expect anything less out of me," the Flames defenceman said after yesterday's morning skate.

 "I'm the kind of guy who likes to rebound after tough situations.

 "Hopefully, this is just one of those days."

 Even though the Flames were without Toni Lydman, Gauthier saw only two shifts in the final frame of Sunday's 2-1 loss.

 In that period, he logged one minute and 22 seconds.

 Also, his giveaway led to the game winner.

 Gauthier didn't speak after that game or Monday's practice.

 "I can't control it and it's in the past," he said.

 "What I'm able to control is my performance and just want to focus on the game.

 "Let's not talk about it, just the game.

 "I don't want to talk about myself."

 General manager/head coach Darryl Sutter said the case was closed and Gauthier started last night's game with a clean slate.

 "That's an issue, too much gets made of it," Sutter said after the skate.

 "In the playoffs, four guys get a lot of the minutes."

 Sutter dismissed any belief he was being overly critical, especially since the Flames were shorthanded on the blueline.

 "Gauthier has to be a physical presence for us," he said. "Do the comparison with their defencemen who are physical and ours. For us to have a chance in this series, there's a specific role he has to play. It doesn't change from the regular season. He doesn't take a step backwards, he has to take a step up."

 To do that, Gauthier and defence partner Rhett Warrener must do a better job of shutting down the top line of Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Matt Cooke.

 Although almost all the goals that trio has garnered have come on the powerplay, it's no secret the offence begins with them.

 "We haven't been hard enough on them," Gauthier said. "We've given these guys too much time and space. It's been a pretty easy series for Markus Naslund so far.

 "It's something we have to adjust and try to be more physical on their top players. As a whole group, we have to do a better job.

 "It's playoffs and it seems (the referees) are letting us battle. They're taking all the stickwork away, all the hooking and clutching and grabbing but the battles, they're letting us play," he continued.

 "They've been doing it to Jarome (Iginla), so it's something we'll have to turn around and do a little bit of ourselves."


Videos

Photos