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Flames earn season-ending victory over league-worst Sharks

Calgary Flames Adam Klapka MacKenzie Weegar - The Canadian Press

CALGARY — Despite a disappointing season for the Calgary Flames, it was a huge year individually for MacKenzie Weegar, who wrapped it up in style on Thursday.

Weegar scored his 20th goal as multiple Flames set personal milestones in a season-ending 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

“After I scored, just the sincerity of the congratulations from everybody. When they come up to you after and they say how proud they are of you and the little things like that, it goes a long way for me,” he said.

Having never scored more than eight goals in a season, the jump to 20 tied the 30-year-old for third among blueliners behind only Roman Josi (23) and Cale Makar (21).

More impressive for Calgary coach Ryan Huska, Weegar became the first NHL player to score 20 goals while also blocking 200 shots.

“That's the hard part of the game,” said Huska. “Where over and over you're doing it again and again and you're not feeling good, and you put yourself in those positions and you continually play through it.

“When you look at MacKenzie, you'd have to say he was one of our more consistent players this year. So I thought he did a really good job leadership wise, offence from the back end for us. But then you have the intangibles that he brings. He's a competitor.”

The goal also set a franchise record for most even-strength goals in a season by a defenceman. It was Weegar's 17th, breaking Al MacInnis's record.

“Pretty special,” said Weegar. “It's an honour to break one of his records, obviously a hell of a player.”

Weegar's goal was the culmination of three goals in just over three minutes in the second period that blew the game open with Calgary taking a 5-0 lead.

Blake Coleman, with his 30th goal, and Adam Klapka, with his first NHL goal, Oliver Kylington and Kevin Rooney also scored for Calgary (38-39-5). The Flames finished 25th overall in missing the post-season for the second year in a row.

“Obviously a good way to go out for our team,” said Coleman. “Good win. Couple of guys hitting milestones. Nice way to end what I think of as a tough year."

Dustin Wolf, who lost his bid for his first NHL shutout with nine seconds left in the game, had 16 stops. The rookie finished his season on a four-game winning streak to level his record at 7-7-1.

Fabian Zetterlund scored the only goal for San Jose (19-54-9), which finished last overall and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Mikael Granlund had an assist to end the season on a 13-game point streak (two goals, 13 assists).

“It's just tough to end like that. It's just not the way we wanted to go out," said Sharks defenceman Kyle Burroughs.

Sharks starter Devin Cooley was beaten five times on 23 shots before getting the hook from coach David Quinn. He fell to 2-3-1.

Georgi Romanov had 14 stops in relief.

Calgary jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals less than three minutes apart.

Klapka, the six-foot-eight Czech in his sixth NHL game, opened the scoring at 12:13. He later fought Givani Smith.

“I'm really happy that I showed that I can make plays and play the hard game, too, so that means a lot to me,” Klapka said.

Coleman's goal, the first time the 32-year-old has reached 30, was an easy tap-in at the side of the net after he was set up on a perfect pass from Connor Zary.

Coleman had missed the previous four games with an upper-body injury. His previous career best was 22 with the New Jersey Devils in 2018-19.

The only milestone being chased that wasn't reached was Nazem Kadri's 30th goal, despite numerous chances and being set up all night by his teammates. He finished with eight shots and 16 shot attempts.

"It says a lot about our room and the guys we have in here. We all care about each other and we want to see each other succeed,” said Coleman. “To me, that goes a long way in the future of this team."


Klapka is the fifth Flames player to score his first NHL goal this season. Connor Zary, Matt Coronato, Martin Pospisil, and Nick DeSimone — who was later traded to New Jersey — also accomplished that feat.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2024.