Practice makes perfect.
Just ask Chris Simon.
The hulking winger was out on the ice yesterday after the game day skate, practising tipping the puck and screening the goaltender. He then went out last night and potted the Calgary Flames' insurance goal -- his second in as many games -- to help the Flames to a 3-1 win over the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
"We must have worked for 15-20 minutes after practice," said Simon after the game. "I was tipping pucks in. It ends up continuing on into the game."
Simon gave the shooter, Andrew Ference, credit for great puck location.
"Andy made a great shot," said Simon. "He looked up, we made eye contact and he threw it in the perfect spot.
'It's awesome to finally put a couple of goals in the net."
That hard work in practice didn't go unnoticed by Flames assistant coach Rich Preston.
"Nobody works harder," said Preston at the post-game conference. "It's funny. They were practising tip-ins this morning and Simon's always there front and centre when we're practising screening the goalie and tipping the puck.
"It paid off for him tonight."
Simon hasn't scored in consecutive games since joining the Flames in 2004. He has just five goals on the season but has shown recent signs of picking up his play and adapting to the quicker game.
After sitting out the Feb. 3 game against the Vancouver Canucks, Simon has responded with some solid minutes in the last two games.
Andrew Ference, who took the shot Simon deflected off the ice and under Jean-Sebastien Giguere's arm, noticed coaches are rewarding Simon with a few more minutes.
"His type of style is when he's involved physically and he's getting the hits and getting involved in the scrums," said Ference. "Fighting for his room in front of the net. He knows his success comes off of that and the coaches are rewarding him with ice time because he's doing that."
Simon wholeheartedly agrees and seems to be building his confidence.
"Coaches are going to play guys who are going to help you win." said Simon. "You've got to play well every night. That's the way Darryl (Sutter) is. If you're working hard and you're being consistent, he's going to put you on the ice.
"It doesn't matter how much you play, you have to give your all every time you're out there.
"The better you play, the more you play. It's no secret that I wasn't playing my game. I still feel there's a lot to improve. It's just scratching the surface."