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Reunion could spark offensive breakthrough for veteran forward


The looks, Troy Brouwer suggests, have been there. 
The points, unfortunately, haven't followed. 
A reunion with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan should fix that as the veteran forward looks to jumpstart his offense alongside the Calgary Flames' dynamic duo. 

"Those guys have been playing really well," Brouwer said Wednesday morning. "I feel like I have been playing well. I haven't been rewarded with points or anything. 
"But when your team is struggling, you're struggling as well. With the big win the other night (against the Ottawa Senators) . . . I've been up with them periodically throughout the year and hopefully we can get something going early on and help improve our team here."
The early returns of the move have been promising. 
Brouwer assisted on Monahan's first power play goal in Wednesday's 5-1 win against the Minnesota Wild, sending a slap pass through the slot that Gaudreau redirected on all-star goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk made the initial stop, but couldn't thwart Monahan on the rebound. 
Brouwer, the elder statesman of the line at 31, was front and centre when Monahan put the Flames up 4-1 with a wrist shot from the high slot. Dubnyk never saw the quick snap with Brouwer providing a healthy screen. 

Video: MIN@CGY: Monahan scores his second PPG of the game
"Over the past couple seasons, that's what I've been looked at to do - be good on recoveries and let them do their thing," Brouwer said. "They're the skilled players on the line. Go grab pucks for them, get it to them, and go stand in front of the net and try to help any way I can. 
"I'm comfortable playing with players of that calibre and I look forward to the opportunity."
It's not all grunt work, though. 
There's more behind signing Brouwer to a four-year contract back on July 1.  
"We talked with Brouw about just continuing his leadership in that locker room," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said. "Now's the time you really need it in this point of the year. And the experience. 
"We've got him with Johnny and Mony. He's got to be a guy that can be heavy for them and hold pucks and get to the net and create space for those guys. We've had individual meetings with all our guys. 
"That's what we talked about."
The one-game sample checks out. 
The 45-game body of work hasn't been as productive as Brouwer would like. 
The Vancouver native has been a perennial 20-goal, 40-point threat over the past seven seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues. 
With his assist against the Wild, Brouwer sits off the pace at eight goals and 18 points.  
There's another gear, Gulutzan suggested, that Brouwer can hit with a 30-game sprint to the playoffs.
Right on time. 
"I know that Troy has more and he feels he has more to give," Gulutzan said. "The reason we got Brouw is for these times . . . this hardest 30 games here to finish out. 
"I think this point of the year is going to fit Brouwer perfectly."

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