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The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames in overtime on Thursday night to advance to the Western Conference Finals, but in true Battle of Alberta fashion, it didn’t come without controversy.
Oilers captain Conor McDavid scored the game-winning goal 5:03 into overtime to seal Calgary’s fate in just five games. But the focus of the game came late in the third period when Flames’ winger Blake Coleman appeared to score a goal off his skate, which would’ve forced a Game 6 if gone unanswered.
Except NHL officials in Toronto disagreed.
The goal was waved off after a review determined that Coleman kicked the puck into the net.
“According to Rule 49.2, ‘A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net with his skate/foot.,’” the league said in its explanation.
Blake Coleman of the Flames kicks the puck past Mike Smith of the Edmonton Oilers during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup playoff series at Scotiabank Saddledome on May 26, 2022, in Calgary, Alberta. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Coleman was attacking the net when his skate made contact with the puck. Whether it was a “distinct” motion or he was simply making a stop will surely be debated but the former Tampa Bay Lightning forward, who won two Cups with the team, certainly thought the goal should’ve counted.
“I don’t think I understand the rule,” Coleman told reporters during his postgame presser. “Getting pushed, just trying to keep my foot on the ice. I haven’t watched it enough. But In live speed, it felt like I was in a battle. My understanding is you can direct the puck but you just can’t kick it. And I didn’t feel that I kicked it. Can’t go back and change it now. It is what it is.”
He continued: “It’s unfortunate that that was such a big part of the game and influenced the way it all went down but like I said, I must just not understand it.”
The Edmonton Oilers celebrate after defeating the Flames, 5-4, in overtime on May 26, 2022, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)
After trailing the game 0-2 through the second period, Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse and Jesse Puljujarvi revitalized the Oilers’ offense to tie the game. Zach Hyman would make 3-2 a short time later and the rest is history.
“Hard to put into words what that one meant to me,” McDavid said. “The guys did a great job of hanging in there all night. Definitely wasn’t our best effort, but we stuck in there. Got great performances from a bunch of different guys.”
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Flames on May 26, 2022, in Calgary, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Edmonton advances to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2006, when they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.