When Travis Green saw the torque, release and accuracy that flipped the switch and turned Nicklas Jensen from a question mark into an exclamation mark — giving a hockey-mad NHL city a sliver of light through that long and dark development tunnel — the Utica Comets coach had a sense of satisfaction.

As a first-year professional bench boss, Green has struck a kinship with the determined 21-year-old Danish winger, who’s finally getting a leg up on being part of the Vancouver Canucks’ youth movement next season.

Far from an overnight sensation, the process to get Jensen to a March 7 recall and then look comfortable with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows came the hard way. Through rehabbing a preseason shoulder injury, tough love and no goals in his first 18 AHL games, perseverance has paid off.

It’s not so much goals in two consecutive games on the last road trip that have piqued the curiosity about the 2011 first-round draft pick. It’s how Jensen scored those goals — in the slot with heavy wrist shots that found the far corner — and how cool he was netting the shootout winner past Roberto Luongo. And how he was the best forward Monday in a 4-3 loss at Tampa Bay. The right winger used speed to draw a penalty, force Ben Bishop into a tough save off a backhand before hitting the post and putting a puck off Burrows that made it 4-2. In 21:09 of ice time — a whopping 8:58 in the third period — he was responsible and earned the right to be out there in the final minutes.

“It doesn’t surprise me, to be honest,” said Green. “He’s a guy that if he can find time and space, he can score from that (slot) area. He’s been that way his whole life, so that part of the game comes natural for him. I’m actually prouder of him in some of the other areas in which he’s playing than the goal scoring. The scoring is a byproduct of getting to those areas, and obviously with Torts putting him in a situation where he can succeed with skilled players — he can be that kind of player.”

The key is the situation. Jensen has to play in the top six because he’s now teasing with an offensive touch that’s painfully lacking everywhere else in the lineup.

Burrows can bang away and score down low — five goals and eight points in the last four outings are encouraging — but the double-clutching and injured Daniel Sedin has but 13 goals, and the sidelined Ryan Kesler is the lone forward to crack the 20-goal plateau with the 28th-ranked offence.