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Flames’ Weegar focused on defence first, but still relieved to end scoring drought



Flames blue-liner MacKenzie Weegar has memorized the route from house to the Saddledome and to a favorite row of eating places, however he’s in any other case nonetheless counting on his maps app for many commutes round Calgary.

He has, in any case, solely been dwelling on this metropolis for a couple of months.

“My home to the rink, no downside. My home to 4th Road, no downside. From my home to the mall just isn’t dangerous,” Weegar stated with a smile. “All over the place else, I nonetheless want to tug out the maps, however it’s coming.”

The 28-year-old Weegar apparently had a very good feeling he may discover the again of the web in a

New Year’s Eve clash with the Vancouver Canucks

… and there’s no GPS operate for that.

As a result of earlier than he buried his first of the season, a game-winner in addition, he referred to as his shot.

“We have been really speaking about it on the way in which right here,” Weegar’s car-pool pal, Jonathan Huberdeau, revealed throughout a post-game interview with Flames TV. “He stated that he was going to attain. He stated hat-trick, however I used to be like, ‘Uh, I don’t know if that’s going to occur.’ ”

In keeping with his longtime teammate — they have been collectively for six campaigns in Florida earlier than each being traded to Calgary as a part of a summer season blockbuster — and shut buddy, Huberdeau wasn’t


that well mannered about it.

“We have been simply joking round within the automotive — I stated, ‘If I get one, possibly I’ll get three tonight,’ ” Weegar stated, sharing his personal recollection of that lighthearted dialog. “And he stated, ‘Yeah, that’ll be a miracle.’

“However I’m simply completely happy to get one.”

For Weegar, lighting the lamp just isn’t essentially a part of the job description. Extra of a bonus, actually.

Nonetheless, this bagel on the stat-sheet — zero objectives in his first 36 outings in a Flames uniform — had been gnawing at him.

He admitted as a lot whereas chit-chatting with Sportsnet’s Ryan Leslie previous to a Dec. 28 matchup with the Kraken in Seattle, raving about his relationship with defence accomplice Chris Tanev however including on the finish of that reply: “I feel the following step for us two is to possibly get a aim or two.”

The next day, he instructed Postmedia, “It’s simply possibly a confidence factor or possibly a bit an excessive amount of in my head in the case of scoring.”

“I’m getting the probabilities, I’m taking pictures, so I simply should keep it up,” burdened Weegar, who counted a career-best eight markers on behalf of the Panthers in 2021-22. “It’s a type of issues the place whenever you get one, you’ll get a couple of extra behind it. I’m not one to attain too many objectives anyway. It often took me some time in Florida to attain, too. However often once I did rating, a couple of extra would come behind it. In order that’s what I’m hoping for right here, too.”

Throughout Tuesday’s joust with the Jets in Winnipeg (6 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan), he’ll be seeking to flip this right into a twine-tickling streak.

Weegar had been stopped on 63 consecutive photographs on internet earlier than lastly notching his first of the season — and first within the Flaming C — shortly earlier than the New Yr’s Eve fireworks, wiring a wrister by means of site visitors and slightly below the cross-bar on the blocker-side.

What’s extra essential is that the brand new man in No. 52 is wanting increasingly settled on Calgary’s back-end.

When he and Tanev are on the high of their sport, they’re a stout shutdown tandem. They’re two of the perfect within the enterprise at transferring pucks out of their very own zone, which may make for a irritating night time for opposing forecheckers.

The Flames closed the 2022 calendar on a

5-1-1 roll in their past seven dates

. Because of his second-period strike in opposition to the Canucks, Weegar can now overlook a few countdown of one other type.

“I feel if we play arduous defensively, we’ll get our possibilities offensively and we simply should capitalize on that,” he reiterated previous to Monday’s flight to Pleasant Manitoba. “I’m simply going to proceed to leap up within the rush, get these possibilities, shoot the puck extra. Hopefully, we get a couple of extra objectives — who is aware of? — however we’re actually simply targeted on getting the 2 factors.

“I simply wish to hold this factor going and hold rolling as a staff right here.”

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