The Calgary Flames closed out the 2023-24 season with a night full of milestones

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
10 days ago
The 2023-24 season has been a tough one for the Calgary Flames. They’ve weathered a season of significant locker room change, and their games weren’t always easy as a result. They finished the season 16 points outside of the playoffs, far from where they expected themselves to be.
But in Thursday night’s season finale the group played for each and, dare we say, looked like they were having a blast while they did it.

Adam Klapka hits the scoresheet (but falls short of the Gordie Howe hat trick)

Off a bit of a broken play on a fourth line offensive rush, rookie Adam Klapka became the fifth Flame to score their first NHL goal in 2023-24, firing a wrist shot past Devin Cooley in the first period. The goal was part of an eventful game, which also included a fight with San Jose’s Givani Smith in the second period.
“I think it was time to show that I can play,” said Klapka. “And I’m really happy that I showed that I can make plays and play the hard game, too. It mean a lot for me and I just going to try to translate that to Wranglers and for next year.”
Klapka’s fight with Smith was his fourth fight of the season, but the first time he’s engaged in fisticuffs in the NHL. According to the towering Czech, the seed for the fight was planted during warm-up.
“[To] be honest, I just asked him on the warm-up if he wanted to go, because I know he likes to fight,” said Klapka. “I really respect it, so I just asked him and he said ‘why not?’ so we just go.”
Klapka felt it was time for his first NHL fight. He wasn’t able to get anybody to fight him on Tuesday in Vancouver, leading to his brief chat with Smith instead.

MacKenzie Weegar’s 20th goal

MacKenzie Weegar’s second period goal triggered a few unique milestones. He scored his 20th goal of the season, hitting that mark for the first time in his NHL career. It’s just the 12th time in franchise history that a Flames blueliner has scored 20 goals in a season, but Weegar also broke Al MacInnis’ 1987-88 single-season record for the most even strength goals by a defender (with 17).
Weegar also became the first player since the NHL started tracking blocked shots as a statistic to record 20 goals and 200 blocks in a single season.
Following the game, head coach Ryan Huska reflected on Weegar’s accomplishment.
“When you look at MacKenzie, you’d have to say he’s one of our more consistent players this year,” said Huska. “I thought he did a really good job leadership-wise, offence from the back end from us, but then you have the intangibles that he brings. He’s a competitor, he’s physical, and he’ll put his body on the line to help the team win, and that’s the type of player that you want to have.”

Blake Coleman’s 30th goal

Back on Mar. 30, Blake Coleman scored his 29th goal of the season. He returned to action on Thursday after missing four games with an injury, and scored his 30th in the first period off a great feed from Connor Zary just after a power play expired.
“It’s all kind of a blur right now,” said Coleman. “I remember the after thought of it. But obviously a good way to go out for our team. A good win, a couple guys hitting milestones. A nice way to end what I think of as a tough year.”
In addition to the milestones hit – Rasmus Andersson recorded his 200th career point on Coleman’s goal – the Flames narrowly missed a pair of others, but not for a lack of trying. Nazem Kadri finished the season with 29 goals despite having teammates feed him the puck all night – he was credited with eight shots and 16 shot attempts – and Dustin Wolf’s shutout bid was foiled with just 8.9 seconds left on a late Sharks power play.
Coleman reflected on the pursuit of achievements for teammates adding meaning to the final game of the schedule.
“It says a lot about our room and the guys we have in here,” said Coleman. “I think we all care about each other and we want to see each other succeed. I think at the end of the day that’s what you’re most proud of here down the stretch is guys were playing for each other. This could have been just a throwaway, meaningless game and guys took it upon themselves to find something to care about, and it was each other. To me, that goes a long way in the future of this team.”
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