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Defenceman Records Hat Trick as Calgary Flames Cruise Past Islanders

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Calgary Flames

The New York Islanders appeared to have missed their alarm with the Calgary Flames in town on Saturday for a matinee meetup at UBS Arena.  

When a puck was loose and two opposing players contended for it? The Flames, for the most part, came away with possession.  

When play halted at the boards? A Flames player was more likely to be throwing a check than an Islanders player.  

When it came down to a straight up race for an empty-net goal? Well.  

That sequence sums up the afternoon for the Calgary Flames as they cruised to their third victory in as many road games. Defenceman MacKenzie Weegar recorded his first career hattrick, Jacob Markstrom made both highlight saves and highlight blunders, and the Flames brought themselves to within a point of the second Western Conference Wildcard position holding St. Louis Blues with a 5-2 win.   

Scoring opened early when defenceman MacKenzie Weegar recorded his 13th goal of the season off a coast-to-coast effort before targeting a wrist shot perfectly below goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s blocker

Jonathan Huberdeau made it 2-0 in the second period by potting a Yegor Sharangovich rebound. In the same sequence, newcomer Andrei Kuzmenko fanned on his opportunity to record his third goal in three games as a Calgary Flame.  

MacKenzie Weegar caught Islanders forward Simon Holmstrom dropping out of position in the late third and snuck into the middle of the slot. The puck found the smooth-skating defenceman wide open. Weegar hammered a slap shot once again under Varlamov’s blocker to make the game 3-0.  

The Islanders brought it within two early in the third period by utilizing a high-slot cycle to break a hole in Calgary’s zone defence. Forward Brock Nelson slung a wrist shot through traffic and past Markstrom for his 22nd goal of the season.  

With time dwindling and the net empty, the Flames managed to notch two empty-net goals, including the final installment of a MacKenzie Weegar hat trick. Jacob Markstrom also got caught getting greedy in a sequence that led to Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s seventh marker of the season.

The 6-foot-6 tender had this to say of his failed attempts at an empty-net goal.  

“Twice in one game, and neither one made it past the hash marks. I should work on some wrist curls.” 

Despite his failure to fill the net, Markstrom picked up a primary assist on Weegar’s first goal and leads all netminders in scoring with four assists in 2023-2024 – twice as many as any other goaltender.

Behind Markstrom is a seven-way tie at two assists. Tristan Jarry of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the only goalie with a goal this season.   

The Flames will stay in New York for a couple more days for a matchup with the Metropolitan Division leading Rangers on Monday.  

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