Practice makes perfect for a league-best powerplay

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:33 PM ET

So what happens when you actually practice the power-play?

It works.

Really well.

Five games is a small sample, but it's obvious through the first few weeks the Calgary Flames actually can make something happen with the man-advantage.

After another two-goal performance for the powerplay Friday against the Dallas Stars, the Flames have a league-best 46.7% mark (7-for-15).

"There's a lot going right," said Flames defenceman Jay Bouwmeester. "The puck's just going in the net. We've been pretty good at bringing it up the ice, getting in the zone and setting up.

"It's just clicked. At the start of the year, yeah, we worked on it. But we got two goals in the first game. Powerplays are funny. You'll go on streaks where things happen and then it might cool off a bit.

"We have guys that go to the net and have good sticks around the net. If you can get the puck to the net, anything can happen."

It's too much to believe the Flames will continue to flourish at that rate with the man-advantage, but it's far cry from the abomination it became last season. In their final 10 tilts, the club went a brutal 0-for-43 and finished in the bottom third of the league for the season at 17%.

This year, things clicked and haven't stopped.

"It's like anything, when things are going well, things just open up for you," Bouwmeester said. "We didn't score (Thursday) night but did (Friday) -- bounced back, and that's good. We just have to keep working at it."

Amazingly, the top unit featuring Olli Jokinen and Jarome Iginla hasn't played a big part.

It's been players like Rene Bourque and Dion Phaneuf leading the way. Both have scored twice on the powerplay.

The defence corps has chipped in, too.

The six blueliners have combined for 19 points (6-13-19), nine of which coming on the powerplay.

JAFFRAY TO HEAT

C Jason Jaffray was sent to the AHL's Abbotsford Heat yesterday. Jaffray played his first game of the season for Calgary Friday night, drawing in for the injured David Moss.


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