TAMPA — If not for a stupendous pad save by Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, Lightning left wing Alex Tanguay would not have been having this conversation.
But there he was Thursday at the St. Pete Times Forum being asked if there was concern he played four preseason games without a goal.
"No, not at all," Tanguay said. "I've had my chances. It's just a matter of getting the puck to the net, and things will come."
Besides, he said, smiling, "The first (scrimmage) game, I scored three, so if every five games I score three goals, that's what, 50?"
Forty-eight, actually, but who's counting.
Not coach Rick Tocchet, who coached Tanguay for two seasons as an assistant with the Avalanche.
"He's a streaky guy," Tocchet said. "He'll go through games when he won't score, and then he'll score in bunches."
And certainly not linemate Vinny Lecavalier.
"It's preseason," the center said. "Every practice and every game, we're finding each other more and more. He's doing well."
Tanguay 29, understands the questions.
With his ability to pass and control the puck, he knows he was brought in to help Lecavalier get back on track after a down season. But Tanguay also has five 20-goal seasons, so he's expected to chip in a bit himself.
The key, Tocchet said, is not allowing Tanguay, who had only four preseason shots, to lose sight of his game as he tries to get Lecavalier going.
"That's the one thing for our coaching staff, we remind Alex not to overpass to Vinny. I've seen it already," Tocchet said. "I like their chemistry, but he does overpass sometimes to Vinny."
"Vinny is the same way, too," Tanguay said. "In training camp, he's given me a lot of pucks. We're trying to please each other, it seems like. But now, it's hockey season, and we have to make sure we do what's best for the team.
"We'll find ways to make nice plays and get passes to the other guy, but we have to make sure we shoot our pucks in, and the rest will follow on, I'm sure."
Tanguay has been through a few hectic weeks.
Never an avid summer skater — "I feel by doing that I get more interest when I get back to the ice," he said — Tanguay spent the offseason rehabilitating from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Then there was the early September signing with Tampa Bay, looking for a house, moving his family, and then a five-game, seven-night road trip.
"The first two games on the road trip, I think I had a little fatigue from the trip and the movement, and everything happened so fast," Tanguay said. "But now I feel better. We're all moved into the house, and the family is in town. I'm excited. I'm anxious to get the season going."
Tanguay had two assists in preseason, one in Sunday's finale against the Thrashers. He also was robbed from in close by Pavelec's lunging save.
In other words, he was in the right place at the right time.
"I'm not worried about Alex," Tocchet said. "He's a pro. He's only going to get better."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at email@example.com