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Hamilton scores hat-trick in loss

by DANIEL ROCCHI @D_Rocchi /

The Florida Panthers scored three goals in the first 6:03 of the second period to defeat the Flames 6-3 Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Roberto Luongo, making his first appearance since being sidelined with an injury back on Dec. 4, made 30 saves for the Panthers, who won for the seventh time in eight games.

Playing in his 400th-career regular-season game, Dougie Hamilton recorded his NHL first-career hat-trick for his 11th, 12th and 13th goals of the season.

"I think the last one I had that I remember was minor hockey, so it's been a while I guess and pretty cool to be able to do it now," said Hamilton. "I think it's obviously tough in games when you're down and you're not playing good and stuff like, that so it would have been a lot better if we were on top and for me right now, I'm not enjoying it too much. It's tough when you lose so kind of just one of those frustrating games."

The Panthers scored on their first shot of the game when Mike Matheson beat David Rittich high glove side with a wrist shot 1:09 into the opening period. Micheal Ferland barely missed a wraparound attempt at the other end just a few seconds before Matheson's tally.

The Panthers nearly doubled their lead near the five-minute mark of the first as the puck trickled through Rittich and just past the far post.

Video: Condensed Game: Panthers @ Flames

"To be honest with you guys, from the time I was standing behind the bench, I didn't like us after maybe the first two shifts," head coach Glen Gulutzan told reporters following the game. "I felt we were a little choppy and I was just hoping that we could maybe get back into it a little bit, get a little bit more fluid, but we didn't."

Hamilton drew the Flames even on the powerplay with just under six minutes left in the frame, beating Luongo with a far-side wrister from the top of the circle with Matthew Tkachuk parked in front.

With his team on the man-advantage to start the second period, Vincent Trocheck restored the Panthers lead 58 seconds into the frame, splitting the Flames defence and beating Rittich for his team-leading 22nd goal of the year.

Florida made it a two-goal game with another powerplay tally when Evgenii Dadonov tipped home his 15th of the year with just over three minutes gone in the period.

"That second period, we needed to get the penalty kills," said Gulutzan. "They tried twice to go through the middle on us and we didn't quite get there and we didn't get those kills and that hurt us."

Aleksander Barkov put the Panthers up 4-1 less than three minutes later, tipping a shot between the pads of Rittich for his 19th of the season.

That was the end of Rittich's night as he allowed four goals on 15 shots before giving way to Jon Gillies, who was called up on an emergency basis after an injury to Mike Smith back on Feb. 11.

"I didn't think he played bad, I think it's just - I don't remember all the goals perfectly, but some tips and stuff like that," said Hamilton of Rittich. "He's been great, I think he just moves forward to next game and he'll be ready.

Gillies turned aside 13 of 15 shots in relief.

Hamilton added his second powerplay tally of the night at 12:15 of the second, firing a low slapshot that beat Luongo five-hole to pull the Flames to within a pair. It was Hamilton's third powerplay goal and fourth point in his last two games, and the fourth powerplay goal in two games for the Flames.

"We were talking about the powerplay in Boston not being successful but obviously the last few games we've scored a couple, so you hope that these things get hot at the right time," said Gulutzan.

Matheson added his second of the game and eighth of the season at 3:41 of the third period and Jared McCann scored 121 seconds later to make it 6-2.

Hamilton netted his third of the night with just over eight minutes left in regulation when his goal line shot from the corner deflected in off Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad.

Curtis Lazar thought he had his second goal in two games and third in his last five when he deflected a high point shot under the crossbar with just under three minutes to play, but it was ruled a high stick and the goal was overturned.



Hamilton leads the Flames with 185 shots on goal this season … Johnny Gaudreau had his point streak halted at eight games … Sean Monahan had two assists to give him five helpers in his last five outings … The Flames fall to 7-4-1 in Saturday games this season and 12-10-3 against Eastern Conference teams.



The Flames wrap up a two-game homestand at the Scotiabank Saddledome with a Family Day matinee against the Boston Bruins on Monday (2 p.m. MT, TV: Sportsnet West, RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN).  

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