Weegar nets first career hat trick, Flames top Islanders 5-2
Posted Feb 11, 2024 07:16:05 AM.
Last Updated Feb 11, 2024 07:19:13 AM.
MacKenzie Weegar recorded his first career hat trick and led the Calgary Flames to a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Blake Coleman also scored to help Calgary extend its season-high winning streak to four games. Jacob Markstrom finished with 35 saves and also registered an assist in the third game of a four-game road trip to begin the second half of the season following the NHL All-Star break.
“Until the last seven or eight minutes of the third period, it was a pretty complete game for us again,” Flames coach Ryan Huska said. “We had all sorts of contributions from different people so that was something that was important too. … This is a tough team, if you get behind on them, they make it really hard on you to be able to get back in games, so it was nice to be able to score first.”
Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves in his 600th NHL appearance but the Islanders’ brief two-game winning streak was snapped. Brock Nelson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored New York.
Weegar opened the scoring with a soft wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that sailed past the blocker of Varlamov at 3:47 of the first period.
The 30-year-old defenseman scored his second of the night to give Calgary a 3-0 lead at 15:16 of the second period. The Islanders lost track of Weegar and he blasted an uncontested one-timer from the high slot. Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr assisted.
Nelson pulled the Islanders to within two goals early in the third period. Matt Martin screened the Flames goaltender and Nelson’s wrist shot from just inside the blueline spoiled Markstrom’s shutout bid.
“We found ourselves in a hole and a little too late in the third when we started to find it and get a lot more zone time and some chances,” Nelson said. “Kind of a weird one early, didn’t feel like we gave up a ton but we found ourselves own a few.”
Huberdeau deposited a rebound and scored a power-play goal midway through the second period to give Calgary a 2-0 edge at the time. Yegor Sharangovich’s one-time blast from the top of the right faceoff circle created a juicy rebound that Huberdeau cashed in on.
“We didn’t panic, we stuck with our game plan,” Huberdeau said. “Another game, Markstrom has been tremendous for us. It’s easier to play in front of a goalie that is making a lot of key saves. Everybody worked, everybody was going again, it’s good to see.”
Coleman added an empty-net goal at 15:59 of the third period, which extended the Flames lead to 4-1.
Pageau scored his seventh of the season at 17:28 of the third period.
Weegar closed out the scoring and completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal in the final minute of regulation.
“I never would have thought I would have a hat trick in the NHL,” Weegar said. “Credit to my teammates of course. We have just been playing great hockey. … It was a great night from everybody.”
Flames: Visit New York Rangers Monday.
Islanders: Host Seattle Kraken Tuesday.