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He owns the night

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CALGARY – Dale Weise had a big night on Friday – a very big night.

The 27-year-old scored his first career hat trick – which included the game-winning goal – to pace Michel Therrien’s troops to a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome, a win that ultimately salvaged their three-game road trip through Western Canada which began with back-to-back losses in Vancouver and Edmonton, respectively.

“That one feels good. I thought we offered up a complete effort. All four lines played well, our D got involved and [Mike] Condon made some really big saves early,” offered Weise, who scored his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the 2015-16 campaign as the Canadiens picked up their league-leading 10th win of the year. “I’ve had so many chances lately, empty nets that I’ve missed. I just shouldn’t miss on those. In Edmonton, I had an empty net that I missed that would’ve made it 4-2. That would’ve changed the game. I really wanted to come out and contribute.”

And, contribute he did – as did the line he’s been plying his trade with all season long by combining for seven points against Bob Hartley’s squad in Southern Alberta. Weise was quick to credit the work of both David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann in helping him give Flames starter Joni Ortio far more than he could handle.

“This hat trick feels even better because we played so poorly the past couple of games. To come in and get the win, full marks to Fleisch and Davey because those were pretty easy goals to score. They did all the work,” praised Weise, referencing Fleischmann and Desharnais’ helpers on both his first and third goals of the contest. “On that third goal, it was just an unbelievable pass from Fleisch. I was just trying to get to the net. I knew he was going to make a play there. He has some unbelievable hands.”

If Weise was pleased with his line’s effort on Friday night, it’s safe to say Therrien was, too. Not only did they put up points, but they accounted for 11 of the Canadiens’ 31 shots on goal with Weise leading the way with seven of his own. Putting pucks on net was something the Canadiens got away from in the second and third periods a night earlier. That certainly wasn’t the case less than 24 hours later.

“They were really good tonight. They spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, they were solid defensively, and they were very productive as a group, too,” shared Therrien, who lauded Weise’s performance, in particular, in the aftermath of Friday night’s win. “Dale had a very productive game. We have to be satisfied with the way he played.”

While Weise was proud of his individual accomplishment, he was far more impressed by the way the Canadiens went about their business as a group. Nathan Beaulieu, Devante Smith-Pelly and Paul Byron also put the puck past Ortio en route to putting two more points in the bank before returning home to Montreal on Saturday.

“We needed a win, and a lot of guys chipped in. It was amazing,” mentioned Weise, who was proud of the way players throughout the lineup didn’t let Thursday night’s letdown carry over into Friday night’s tilt 300 km down the highway. “That’s what we need going to forward to be successful. That’s why we won nine in a row to start the year, with contributions from everybody. We can’t expect Patch to score every night, and Pleky and Gally. Everyone has to contribute and I thought we had a complete effort.”

That being said, did the Canadiens’ No. 22 enjoy seeing Habs fans in Calgary celebrate his hat trick right along with him the traditional way? Absolutely.

“I was a little shocked to see the hats coming on the ice right away, but not really. The support that we get all over, wherever we’re playing, is incredible,” concluded Weise. “This is a storied franchise. We have the greatest fans in the world. They’re always excited. It felt pretty good to see all those hats coming out.”

Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

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