SUN Hockey Pool

Tanguay shooting to be a better sniper for Flames

STEVE MACFARLANE

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

It seems Alex Tanguay is taking the advice to heart.

He's heard it often over his previous seven seasons in the NHL and again to start his second with the Calgary Flames -- 'Shoot!'

"A lot of people tell me that," said Tanguay, laughing. "Players, coaches, family members, fans ... everybody."

The talented left-winger has a well-earned reputation as a puck passer. He's a classic set-up man, always looking for the perfect outlet and often finding it in the most unlikely situations.

With three goals in his last two games, Tanguay is finding his scoring touch, too. He's no longer committed to dishing off at the last minute.

On pace for more than 200 shots with 27 over his first 11 games, Tanguay should eclipse his season high in the category. It may be coincidental, but his early point total is double what it was at this point a year ago. He's got a dozen points compared to six after the first 11 games last season. His shot total was at 14 this time a year ago.

"I think he's always encouraged to shoot more often," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan. "Maybe he's making a conscious effort of it now, looking for those rebound opportunities that come up with shooting the puck, or his teammates are looking for them, as well."

The 27-year-old Tanguay was chastised after starting slowly with the Flames after being obtained in a draft-day trade with the Colorado Avalanche in 2006. But the perfectionist has always been his own harshest critic.

"Hopefully I can play a little better," said Tanguay. "I know I've got more."

He credits a focus on skating with his recent success.

"Iggy (Jarome Iginla) was telling me that we need to skate a little bit more in the neutral zone to create some chances. Last night, we could have easily scored four or five more goals," Tanguay said of the 3-2 overtime loss to the Avs Friday. "I always thought I had better, and I feel the last few games I've played that way.

"Maybe (goaltenders) will back up a little bit because they know most times I won't shoot. The goalie might lean a little bit. It's up to me to make sure if they're cheating to make them pay for it."

ICE CHIPS

The Flames sent LW Eric Nystrom back to the AHL.


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