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'I FEEL CONFIDENT OUT THERE'

Jankowski busting out offensively and the timing couldn't be better

by TY PILSON @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

It's not about how you start the race, but how you finish it.

And with the Flames making the final sprint to the end of the regular season battling to secure a playoff spot, Mark Jankowski has emerged playing his best hockey of the campaign.

It's been an at-times frustrating season for the centre, following an impressive 2018-19 campaign in which he scored 14 goals and career high 32 points.

So far this time around, he has three goals and five points. But the trio of tallies and one helper have come in his last five outings, his offensive game springing to life.

He had his first multi-point game of the year with a goal and assist in the 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

"I think he's played real well lately," said interim coach Geoff Ward. "He's played hard, and he has always been a player with good structure but I think right now the key for him is he's playing harder. And because of that he's getting inside more and we're starting to see him get some scoring because of it. It's been a real good transition for him. I know it's been frustrating but now he's playing his best hockey and we're getting into the best time of year, so the fact that he's playing well now is a great thing for us."

The timing couldn't be better, as the Flames know they'll need the type of secondary scoring they've been getting from Jankowski and other players in the last two games, where Calgary has put up 12 goals.

"The secondary scoring is always huge, Doc's line and Janko's line the last few games have been gigantic for us that way," said Ward. "In terms of not only providing offence, but having real long shifts in the offensive zone which gives your team momentum, and wears the other team down defensively a little bit. For us the way they're playing now is excellent and that's exactly the way we need to them to play for the rest of the way out."

 

Video: "Feel good, feel confident out there."

 

Not surprisingly, the always affable Jankowski is smiling a little bigger lately thanks to finally shedding the weight of that rather large monkey he'd been carrying around.

"I feel good, I feel confident out there," he said Wednesday morning ahead of the Flames tilt with the LA Kings. "To get that first one off the back felt good (on Jan. 18 against the Senators), felt like a weight off my shoulders. And I feel like we've all been playing well since then. I think our line has been clicking really well the last few games and I've just been sticking with it. Obviously it was tough points-wise in the first part of the season. 

"For me, I just wanted to come to the rink every day with a positive attitude and to help the team win whatever way possible. If I kept on working hard and doing things the right way the points would start to come and were starting to see that now."

When a player goes through any type of scoring slump, the only way to break out is to continue to do the things that got you success in the past and keep a positive outlook.

"I just want to come to the rink and try to do whatever I can, work my way through it and keep sticking with it," he said. "The only way you're going to get through stuff like that is through hard work. No one is going to feel sorry for you and pat you on the back. So I just wanted to make that a point to come in and work hard every day and I think the results are starting to show here."

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