Vancouver Canucks’ Sheldon Dries, right, hits Calgary Flames’ Michael Stone during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

Vancouver Canucks’ Sheldon Dries, right, hits Calgary Flames’ Michael Stone during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

Weegar gives Calgary Flames big lift in 3-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver begins a 2-game home stand Tuesday against the New York Islanders

Defenceman Mackenzie Weegar notched his first goal as a Flame and added an assist Saturday night to lead Calgary to a 3-2 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

Elias Lindholm and Blake Coleman also scored for Calgary (18-13-7), which has points in 12 of its last 15 (8-3-4) games.

Sheldon Dries and Elias Pettersson replied for Vancouver (16-17-3), which has dropped two straight on the road after winning seven in a row in opposition rinks.

Getting the start for the Flames, Jacob Markstrom made 22 stops to improve to 12-9-4.

At the other end, Spencer Martin had 27 saves. His record slips to 11-6-1.

After a scoreless first period, Calgary surged in front 1:21 into the second when Lindholm kept the puck on a two-on-one rush and fired a shot past Martin.

The Flames made it 2-0 on a short-handed goal at 9:32 of the second on a sequence that was set up on a superb outlet pass by Weegar.

After a Canucks turnover, Weegar patiently hung onto the puck allowing his teammates to leave the zone and dart up ice and he sent a long cross-ice pass to Rasmus Andersson, who on a two-on-one, neatly set up Coleman, who buried a shot inside the post.

That sequence was a microcosm of Vancouver’s struggles in the second period in they had three power plays but failed to score and were outshot 3-2 by the Flames’ penalty killers.

After the third of those penalty kills, Weegar scored the eventual game-winner making it 3-0 at 14:17 when his point shot eluded Martin.

Dries got one back for Vancouver at 15:28 on a strange one, knocking a puck in from waist-level after it had fluttered into the air on one side of the net and came down on the other side where Dries was the first to spot it.

The resilient Canucks climbed within one at 4:06 of the third when Pettersson buried a rebound, but Vancouver could not find the tying goal although they pushed hard.

With three minutes left, Markstrom made a huge stop off Quinn Hughes when the Canucks defenceman was set up in the slot by Bo Horvat. Vancouver also applied big pressure with the goalie pulled, but couldn’t get a clean shot.

Calgary played the second half of the game with 11 forwards after Brett Ritchie left early in the second period after appearing to injure his hand or arm in a collision along the boards.

READ MORE: Scheifele’s hat trick helps Jets snap 3-game skid with 4-2 victory over Canucks

LEAVING HIS MARK

Markstrom continues to play well against the Canucks, who he played with for seven seasons before signing with Calgary as a free agent in 2020. He is now 9-3-1 against Vancouver with a 2.41 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

LINDHOLM’S MILESTONE

Lindholm’s goal comes in his 700th NHL game. Selected fifth overall in the 2013 NHL draft by Carolina, his first 374 games came with the Hurricanes collecting 188 points (64 goals, 124 assists). In 326 games for Calgary, he has 295 points (129 goals, 166 assists).

CANUCKS CHANGES

After icing the same forward configurations the past three games, Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau shuffled the personnel on all four lines with the biggest change seeing C Bo Horvat get two new wingers in JT Miller and Curtis Lazar. The changes included two new forwards inserted into the lineup in Dries, scratched the past three games, and RW William Lockwood, who was recalled on Friday from Abbotsford (AHL).

UP NEXT

Canucks: Open a two-game home stand on Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

Flames: Head to Winnipeg to take on the Jets on Tuesday.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press

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