Pouliot makes a push

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Marc Pouliot is glad to know he still has it.

Who knows how much longer he'll be able to use it, but after spending far too many nights wondering what happened to his hands, he's relieved to know they still work.

"It's working well," said Pouliot, who has two goals in his last three games, a rather significant improvement over one goal in his previous 23. "I've been waiting for this. They put me on a good line with (Rob) Schremp and Cogs (Andrew Cogliano). They're good players. We have good chemistry."

Pouliot had no chemistry with anyone until the recent shift to the second line. With next to no points and next to no penalty minutes, he wasn't doing anything but taking up space.

'NO EXCUSE'

"It's tough playing four or five minutes a game," he said. "Sometimes you want to play more, you wish you could contribute more. Now I had no excuse. They trusted me with more minutes and ice time and I want to prove that he's not wrong. Two games is not a season. Next game I have to do the same, be consistent and prove that I can do that every night."

Pouliot is only there because Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner are both injured. When they get healthy, he'll be hard-pressed to avoid a demotion back to the fourth line. But at least he knows his hands haven't dried up entirely.

"Obviously I like playing on the second line better than the fourth line," he said. "Everybody wants to be a top-six forward. I want to prove that I can be there. I have to play my game and in the end (Craig MacTavish) has the decision."

NOTICED IMPROVEMENT

MacTavish has noticed the improvement.

"He's played better the more that he's played," said the coach. "I guess that's not a revelation, most players do when they get in the flow of the game. He's got a considerable skill level. The challenge for him is just to keep the consistent high level performance. If he does that we'll be able to play him lots."


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