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Bennett scores four goals in 6-0 win over Florida

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Rookie Sam Bennett scored four goals, including three in the first period for his first NHL hat trick, to help the Calgary Flames to a 6-0 win against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Johnny Gaudreau and Mason Raymond scored, and Jonas Hiller, in his first start since Dec. 12, made 15 saves for his first shutout of the season and the 23rd of his NHL career.

Calgary (20-20-2) went 2-2-0 on a four-game homestand.

Bennett is the youngest player in Flames history to get a hat trick, at 19 years, 207 days, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Jim Peplinski, at 21 years, 24 days, set the previous record as part of a four-goal game on Nov. 17, 1981, against the Winnipeg Jets. Bennett is the sixth rookie in Flames history with a hat trick, joining Joe Nieuwendyk, Brett Hull, Matthew Lombardi, Josh Jooris and Gaudreau.

Bennett has scored in back-to-back games after going 18 straight without a goal. He ended his scoring drought Monday in a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Al Montoya made 19 saves on 21 shots for the Panthers (26-13-5), who have lost two straight since setting their record with 12 consecutive wins. He relieved Roberto Luongo, who allowed four goals on 15 shots in the first period.

Bennett scored 56 seconds into the game on Calgary's first shot, one-timing a pass by Jiri Hudler from the slot by Luongo's blocker to put the Flames up 1-0.

It didn't take long for Bennett to get his first multi-goal game in the NHL.

After Gaudreau doubled the lead with his Flames-leading 19th goal at 5:52, Bennett scored again at 12:01 to make it 3-0. He picked up the puck on a broken play just inside the Panthers blue line, went in uncontested on Luongo and lost the handle on a deke that trickled into the back of the net.

Bennett completed the hat trick five minutes later. Deryk Engelland's initial shot was stopped, but he tapped the rebound to Bennett, who lifted a backhand over Luongo's glove to put the Flames ahead 4-0 with 2:59 left in the first.

Bennett's first-period hat trick was the first in the NHL since Jan. 18, 2014, when Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis scored three of his four goals in a game against the San Jose Sharks in the first, according to Elias.

Raymond extended the lead to five at 13:20 of the second period. Montoya couldn't get to Mark Giordano's dump-in, and Raymond redirected David Jones' centering pass into the net before Montoya could reset in his crease.

Bennett capped his night by beating Montoya with a backhand with 24.2 seconds remaining in the third for his fourth goal of the game.

The Panthers' 13-game point streak (12-0-1), the longest in their history, came to an end. They are 3-1-1 on their six-game road trip, which concludes Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Flames begin a five-game road trip Saturday at the Edmonton Oilers.

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