SUN Hockey Pool

Expect the unexpected

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

Attempt No. 1 proved to be a failure to launch.

So did the second blastoff effort.

Finally, on the third try, the plan of putting Alex Tanguay on the left wing with Daymond Langkow and Jarome Iginla is creating a sonic boom.

Pieced together a couple of times earlier this season with little or no result, the group has found the form this time around. No need for a magic elixir, either.

"We're just working," Tanguay said yesterday.

"At the start of the year, I wasn't playing well and wasn't working as hard, and the same with Jarome and Daymond. I think they're playing a lot better now. It's going better for us and certainly fun, so we'll try to keep it that way."

That line's productivity came through again against Chicago Wednesday night, with 18 shots on goal, two tallies and four assists in the 4-1 victory. But the performance is really just a continuation of how it's been for the unit since the club turned the corner a few weeks ago.

"I'm starting to see them a little more on the ice," Tanguay explained.

"At first, it was awkward. I wasn't finding them and didn't know where they'd be. Now I'm starting to see their patterns and see where they're at. I think we're helping the team and the team is helping us.

"It took a little while. You have to restart every game but we feel with the skill level on our line, if we out-work the other line, we'll get some scoring opportunities. And the skill level of Jarome and Daymond, we should put some pucks in the net."

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Tanguay's linemates have started to figure him out, too, especially his ability to feed pucks.

A gifted passer, he has an uncanny ability to slide the disc through traffic onto the sticks of his teammates. Instead of being surprised, Iginla and Langkow now expect the unexpected with great results.

"You've got to be ready," Langkow explained.

"You can be close to a defender and he'll still be able to put it in an area you can still get a shot off and have an opportunity to score. He's such a quick passer, you have to be ready for it."

Of course, that gift seems to come with a price. Tanguay, maligned during a tough opening month, may be coming off his fifth two-assist game in the last six contests but he's also coming under the gun for not shooting the puck.

"I want to keep my teammates happy now. I'll be a little more selfish later," Tanguay said with a laugh.

"It's not a question of being selfish but I have to take some opportunities. Sometimes I hold onto the puck too long trying to make a pass and then lose an opportunity.

"I've always been known growing up as a playmaker. I'd like to score more and it'll happen but it's just a matter of time. I like to pass the puck, to me it's as rewarding as scoring a goal.

"When you play with a guy like Jarome Iginla, you want to put him in good situations."

As head coach Jim Playfair pointed out, though, having a greater tendency to shoot will -- in the long run -- provide even better scoring chances for Tanguay's linemates.

"It throws people off," Playfair explained.

"Look at Kristian Huselius (Wednesday) night. He's been hot scoring goals and winds up but gives it to Lombo (Matthew Lombardi) to finish off.

"Those are the weapons those good players have to always have and always be a threat to use."


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