Weegar’s first hat trick leads Flames past Islanders

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Maybe Jacob Markstrom should ask MacKenzie Weegar for some advice.

Weegar, after all, had scored more goals than any other defenseman in the NHL as the Calgary Flames (25-22-5) put the finishing touches on a 5-2 victory over the host New York Islanders (22-18). . -12) on Saturday afternoon, with his first career hat trick bringing his season total to 15.

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And late in the game at UBS Arena, with the Flames up by three and the Islanders’ goal empty, Markstrom tried to get in on the scoring action himself.

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Twice, the Flames’ goalie picked up the puck and apparently attempted to throw it onto the ice.

The puck didn’t leave the Flames’ zone on either attempt and their second attempt led to an Islanders goal that made the score 4-2, but Markstrom couldn’t be blamed for shooting when the game was already in his hands. .

“Twice in one game and neither of them beat the marks, so I should work on some wrist curls or just stay at the net,” Markstrom told reporters after the game with a big smile. “Up from three and they shoot the goalkeeper. If there was a time to try to shoot it it was today. He ended up in the back of the (Flames) net, so I’ll be more cautious.”

While he’ll probably leave the goal-scoring duties to Weegar in the future, one gets the feeling no one is going to be too upset with Markstrom for his fantasy. He has been absolutely excellent lately and was great again on Saturday, stopping 34 of 36 shots.

Calgary Flames vs. New York Islanders
Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom makes a save against New York Islanders forward Pierre Engvall at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. Photo by Bruce Bennett /fake images

And Weegar too.

He recorded the first hat trick by a Flames defenseman since Nikita Zadorov late in the season last year and went on to put together a phenomenal sophomore season with the Flames.

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According to Sportsnet Stats, he is the first Flames defenseman to score three in a road game since Barry Gibbs did so when the franchise was based in Atlanta and had a hat trick against the New York Rangers on December 31. 1975.

Remember that last season, after being acquired from the Florida Panthers in the summer, Weegar didn’t score his first goal until December 31st.

This year, he is one goal away from doubling the previous record for goals in a season.

“I never would have thought I would have a hat trick in the NHL, credit to my teammates of course,” Weegar told reporters after the game. “I don’t think I’ve ever had one. I remember maybe some games in which two goals were played, but I don’t think I had ever scored a hat-trick before. Maybe Timbits (hockey), but I don’t even remember.”

The Flames have won four straight, including three since top center Elias Lindholm was traded to the Vancouver Canucks. If that was supposed to signal the end of their playoff hopes, the Flames missed the message.

On their three-game road trip since the All-Star break, the Flames have outscored their opponents 14-6. Those enemies are not easy to convince either. The Flames have beaten the Boston Bruins, the New Jersey Devils and now the Islanders. If they can beat the New York Rangers on Monday night, this will have been the team’s best trip in recent memory.

And it has also kept them in the fight for the playoffs.

While the teams around them had games to play on Saturday night, the Flames found themselves just one point out of the wild card positions when the final buzzer sounded earlier in the day.

Whether it’s Weegar, Jonathan Huberdeau or Blake Coleman, who also scored on Saturday, or even Markstrom, the Flames are getting what they need to stay in contention.

It’s more than most expected a week ago.

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