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Clutch Jooris continues to contribute

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

I want to play a role here and try to create energy every time I'm out there. If goals come, they come. If not, I still want to do a job that helps this team win, if it's contributing goal-wise or not. I think that's helped me. Josh Jooris

CALGARY, AB -- Through 73 games with the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League a season ago, Josh Jooris netted 11 goals.

He’s nabbed 10 through the first 33 games of his National Hockey League career.

The trick? Don’t sweat it.

“Maybe not worrying about the offence too much,” said Jooris, who’s latest served as the game-winner as the Calgary Flames bested the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday.

“I said this all along this season -- that's not my game. I want to play a role here and try to create energy every time I'm out there. If goals come, they come. If not, I still want to do a job that helps this team win, if it's contributing goal-wise or not. I think that's helped me.

“I think if players tend to stress about points and whatnot and scoring goals, they can kind of overthink things. Maybe I did a bit of that last year, being a point-producer in college. That's the biggest change I've made this year.”

It’s worked so far.

The former Union College standout, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Flames in the summer of 2013, has made a seamles jump from the minors to teh NHL.

It’s caught the attention of his teammates.

“I told him 10 goals is a milestone and there's a lot of season left to go,” said Joe Colborne, who assisted on Jooris’ goal against the Sabres. “He's been injured part of the year, too, let's not forget that. He plays such a complete game, all three zones.”

Taking care of his own end and providing energy at the other has formulated a simple approach for Jooris’ offensive outbursts.

Just ask his boss.

“He goes at the net,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “Look at his goal (tonight). There was a loose puck and there were many sticks but he was the one that found that puck.

“It's all about being aggressive around the net. Josh is a good skater; he's hard-nosed player. That's great. That's going to give him lots of confidence.”

It’ll help as Calgary, currently the holders of the second and final wild-card berth in the Western Conference, eyes the playoffs.

After all, Jooris knows how goals will come down the stretch.

“You’re going to be seeing a lot more dirty goals,” he said. “Guys are going to be grinding for them out there. We've focused on that the past couple of weeks and that's a big part of our game that we need to improve on. I think it was a decent start tonight. We just got to keep trying to get more of those goals.”

Dirty goals have been a Jooris specialty.

So too have clutch ones.

Including his 10th of the season Tuesday, Jooris boasts a team-leading four game-winners.

“It's just being fortunate, being in the right spot at the right time, playing with some good linemates,” he said. “This one, I was right there. I don't think it has anything to do with my capabilities. I think it's just being lucky.

“I think we deserved that one tonight and we got it.”

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