Weegar’s hat-trick, his first of his career, lifts Flames past Islanders

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Jacob Markstrom might want to ask MacKenzie Weegar a few questions.

Weegar had, in fact, scored more goals than any defenceman in the NHL when the Calgary Flames (25-22-5), had put the final touches on a win 5-2 over the New York Islanders (218-18-12) on the weekend. His first career hattrick brought his season total up to 15.

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

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The Flames goaltender reportedly tried to shoot the puck down ice on two occasions.

The puck didn’t get out of the Flames’ zone on either attempt and his second try actually led to an Islanders goal that made it 4-2, but you couldn’t fault Markstrom for shooting when the game was already in hand.

“Twice in one game and neither one of them made it past the hashmarks, so I should work on some wrist curls or just stay in the net,”Markstrom told reporters after the game with a big grin. “Up by three and they pull the goalie. If there was a time to try to shoot it, it was today. Ended up in the back of the (Flames’) net, so I’ll be more cautious.”

While he’ll probably leave the goal-scoring to Weegar in the future, you get the feeling nobody is going to be too upset with Markstrom for his flight of fancy. He’s been absolutely excellent recently and was great again on Saturday, stopping 34-of-36 shots.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Saturday, February 10th, 2024, makes a save on New York Islanders’ forward Pierre Engvall, at UBS Arena Elmont, N.Y. Photo by Bruce Bennett /Getty Images

Weegar was also a popular choice.

He registered the first hat-trick by a Flames defenceman since Nikita Zadorov in last year’s season finale and continued putting together a phenomenal sophomore season with the Flames.

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According to Sportsnet Stats he is the Flames’ first defenceman to score 3 goals in a road game since Barry Gibbs in 1975, when the franchise was in Atlanta. Gibbs scored a hat trick against the New York Rangers in December 1975.

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

This year, he’s one goal away from doubling his previous career-high in goals for a season.

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

The Flames now have won four consecutive games, including three after the Canucks traded for Elias Lindholm, their first-line center. If that was supposed to signal the end of their playoff hopes, the Flames didn’t get the message.

The Flames have scored 14-6 more than their opponents in their three road games since the All-Star break. Those foes aren’t pushovers, either. The Flames have already beaten the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils, and now they’re on to the Islanders. If they can beat the New York Rangers on Monday evening, this will have been the team’s best road-trip in recent memory.

And it’s kept them in the playoff hunt, too.

The Flames, who were a point behind the wild-card position when the final buzzer had sounded earlier that day, played a game on Saturday night while the teams around them were still playing.

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

It’s more than most expected a week ago.

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Original content by calgaryherald.com: “Weegar’s first career hat trick lifts rolling Flames over Islanders”

Read the full article here https://calgaryherald.com/sports/mackenzie-weegars-first-career-hat-trick-lifts-rolling-flames-past-islanders

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