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Bennett aiming to break out of scoring slump

The forward is scoreless in his last night games

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH /

CALGARY, AB -- The anniversary date is four days passed.

"I mean, it's a new year,'' protested Sam Bennett. "You can't really think bout it like that too much.

"New game, new year.

"I'm just worried about doing what I can to help our team win tonight."

A year ago, on Jan. 13, the then-19-year-old broke out of a deep, painful 18-game snipe-less stretch in a massive way, torching the Florida Panthers for four goals. 

Bennett's hat trick in a 16-minute, five-second first period span chased Roberto Luongo from the Florida net. In a dramatic fashion worthy of London's West End, he potted number four, against back-up Al Montoya, with just 24.7 ticks left in the third period.

This go-round, he's not nearly as parched - nine games is the length of the current drought - but the venue's the same, the opponent's identical and the circumstances similar.

So …

Bennett's last goal dates back to Dec. 27 at Colorado.

"I can't believe anybody doesn't think about it,'' said Bennett of personal offensive slumps. "It's frustrating at times but right now the main focus is on this team having success. If I'm not (scoring) offensively, just doing my part to contribute as much as I can to help us win."

The year of seasoning at the NHL level has made going through this rough patch easier to push through.

"Last year was a lot newer for me. Now I now what to expect and I know I'm going to get out of it.

"So I can definitely handle it a lot better this year."

As the second-half of the regular season begins to pick up steam, everyone is going to find it more difficult to score. Teams will be battening down the hatches.

Goals are going to be down, games tighter as playoff races heat up.

"We know they're going to be tight games from here on out and that's the way it is in the playoffs,'' agreed Bennett. "We gotta get comfortable with it now because that's the way it's going to be."

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