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Players get pissy at practice … but that’s a good thing

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Calgary Flames Erik Gudbranson

After their first consecutive losses in more than two months, the Calgary Flames were a little testy at practice.

Their intensity seems to be ramping up following a shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night. They also dropped Tuesday’s contest to the Colorado Avalanche. It was the first time they had lost two in a row since Jan. 13, when they’d lost four straight.

As PostMedia’s Kristen Anderson reported from Winsport, where the Flames skated on Friday, Blake Coleman and Erik Gudbranson got a little rougher than usual during a competitive drill.

Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter later told Anderson he’d like to see more “banging” from some of the other players on his squad. We’re just weeks away from the end of the regular season and games are going to present more challenges offensively as players hone their focus on making the post-season.

The Kings presented a strategy clogging the neutral zone, which is one way to prevent the Flames from doing too much damage off the rush. They’ll have to send the puck deep and retrieve it. That means working harder along the boards.

Apparently, that challenge led to the extra physicality in practice. Which, as you might expect, Sutter was OK with.

Gaudreau NHL’s second star for month of March

In other news, Johnny Gaudreau was recognized as the NHL’s second star for March thanks to 11 goals and 26 points in 16 games.

Gaudreau’s heroics included three game-winners. He helped the Calgary Flames to a 9-4-3 record in their quest for the Pacific Division title.

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