WASHINGTON — The last time Jay Bouwmeester scored it was just after Remembrance Day.
It’s been so long, you can’t help but wonder whether he has any recollection of that tally.
Bouwmeester, whose offensive abilities were supposed to come without the same price in the defensive zone as the now-departed Dion Phaneuf, finally scored his third goal of the season in the Calgary Flames’ 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals Sunday afternoon.
“The goalie got out of the way, so that was nice,” Bouwmeester said with a grin.
Of all the Flames defencemen, the last one you’d expect to have a 57-game goal-scoring drought would be Bouwmeester.
This is a player who carded back-to-back 15-goal seasons for the Florida Panthers before being acquired by the Flames last summer and signing a lucrative six-year contract worth US$33 million.
Yet, since he rounded out the scoring in a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs Nov. 14, the well went dry. At least until Sunday, when he jumped into the rush to create a two-on-one with Rene Bourque and redirected a pass behind Caps goalie Jose Theodore to give the Flames a 3-0 lead.
“You get chances. That was one. I don’t know where their guys were, but it was wide open,” said Bouwmeester, whose skating abilities should lend himself to more offensive chances than he’s had this season.
“It’s been not being able to get those go to in, so to finally get one is nice.”
How nice? Was it relief? Was it elation?
“It’s not anything more than what it is,” said Bouwmeester, reverting back into his low-key approach. “You’ve got to try and get more to help us win. Everybody’s happy when they score.”
He wasn’t alone in being happy to finally end a slump.
Much maligned left-winger Ales Kotalik banked a rebound shot off Theodore to open the scoring and snapped his skid at 17 games.
Kotalik, who come to the Flames with Christopher Higgins in the Feb. 1 trade which sent Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to the New York Rangers, has just two goals and three points in his 20 games for the Flames.
Two players finally lighting the lamp has the potential to bode well for the flickering Flames.
“He’s not there for scoring goals,” Kotalik said of Bouw-meester without needing to note he’s supposed to fill the net. “When you’re in a goal drought, it doesn’t feel good. Especially when you expect so much of yourself and you know you can do it.
“Right now, this part of the season, it’s not about me.
I lost my season months ago in New York, personally, and now it is about what you can do to help the team win the hockey game.
“It feels good to get one that got us going.”