Penalty killer's goal to score more for Flames

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Doing what he does best to carve out a niche for himself on the penalty killing unit, Eric Nystrom wants more.

Never mind that so many didn't believe he'd ever make it as an NHLer after a shoulder injury stopped him short in training camp last year and effectively cost him an entire season of development.

The Calgary Flames' first-round draft choice, 10th overall in 2002, is enjoying being part of a much-improved special teams unit that has been a big part of locking up five-straight wins on the road.

Now he's looking forward to lighting the lamp -- at least once in a while.

"I think we're doing a good job on the penalty kill, and it's keeping us in games," said Nystrom, who has a bit of a hate on for Columbus because of the college rivalry between his Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes. "At the same time, I still think I can contribute more, especially offensively. I've been on a bit of a cold streak. I'm still trying to figure out how to get some goals in this league."

They're definitely not easy to come by. While the 24-year-old rookie scored in his second game of the season after being called up from the AHL Quad City Flames, he's gone 22 contests without another.

"I've been all around the net. I've had so many chances. I've just been hacking away, and I've been in the right spots," said Nystrom "The goalies are better at this level, and you've got to find a way to beat these guys.

"I've never been a huge goal-scorer, but, at the same time, I definitely think I can put it in more than I have. It's definitely frustrating."

But his confidence is growing with every game, and he feels his grit is just as important as the flash.

"I just try to play an honest game. I'm not flashy. I'm not going to take it coast to coast or lift you out of your seat, but I'm going to be a guy that's going to pay the price."


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