Weiss scored three goals for his first career hat trick as the Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals 7-3 on Saturday night.
“It feels good. I was wondering if I was ever going to get one of those,” said Weiss, who was playing his 214th game in his fourth NHL season. “It was one of those nights where the bounces went my way. It was a big win and we had a solid game.”
Jay Bouwmeester, selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team earlier in the day, had two goals and two assists for Florida. Chris Gratton and Rostislav Olesz also scored for the Panthers, and Ed Belfour had 14 saves.
Alexander Semin, Matt Pettinger and Chris Clark scored for Washington, which lost its fifth straight on the road. Olaf Kolzig gave up five goals on 41 shots before being replaced by Brent Johnson at the start of the third. Johnson made 10 saves on 12 shots.
The 53 shots were a season high for Florida, which has won four straight at home.
“We knew coming in they are a hard-working team,” Bouwmeester said. “We had the incentive to win this one and we were good right from the start.”
Washington pulled to 2-1 as Semin poked in a rebound under Belfour’s leg at 11:56 of the second for his 25th goal of the season.
Florida stretched its lead to 3-1 about one minute later on Weiss’s first goal. Kolzig blocked a shot by David Booth, but Weiss picked up the rebound and beat Kolzig.
The Panthers added two more goals in the second. Olesz scored on a power play at 17:33 when he stopped a pass with his foot and one-timed it into the net. Bouwmeester’s second goal of the game, a shot from the top of the circles, stretched the lead to 5-1.
“We just didn’t play well tonight, obviously,” Kolzig said. “They responded well (to a loss in their previous game) and we weren’t prepared for it. If you’re not ready to play or an aspect of your game is a little bit off it’s apparent in this league. We just weren’t on track.”
Weiss’s second goal came on a breakaway as he put the puck between Johnson’s legs to make it 6-1 at 4:23 of the third.
“We had some big production out of Weiss and Bouwmeester,” Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. “We had 12 different players get points.
Pettinger’s short-handed goal at 10:09 of the third pulled the Capitals to 6-2. Weiss scored his third goal less than a minute later, and Clark’s goal came in the final minute.
“We had no legs,” Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. “We had a bad night all around. To a man, no one had any energy.”
The Panthers scored 1:35 into the game as Bouwmeester brought the puck into the right circle and his wrister went over Kolzig’s blocker. Gratton made it 2-0 at 12:46 of the first, taking the rebound of Olli Jokinen’s shot and pushing the puck past Kolzig.
Notes: Jokinen has 10 assists in his last 13 games. His first-period assist was his first point against the Capitals in five games. … Belfour is 6-1-2 since Dec. 16.