Mike Smith was half a interval away from shutting out the Calgary Flames in Recreation 3 of Edmonton’s second-round Stanley Cup playoff collection on Sunday.
After which got here Milan Lucic.
Calgary trailed 4-0 halfway via the third interval when Lucic barreled into Smith whereas he performed the puck behind Edmonton’s web.
The collision was unhealthy sufficient that NHL concussion spotters pressured Smith out of the sport to be evaluated. Smith was clearly irate in regards to the resolution, arguing fruitlessly with referees to remain within the crease. He did lastly exit, changed by backup Mikko Koskinen.
Lucic was assessed a five-minute penalty for charging and a recreation misconduct — an automated ejection — for his half within the incident. However following the Flames’ eventual 4-1 loss, Calgary coach Darryl Sutter stated he believed Lucic made an actual effort to cushion the blow.
“They known as [it a penalty for] charging, right? Are you able to think about if Looch did cost?” Sutter stated. “What would have occurred there? He really tried to sluggish it down slightly bit, I feel. However it’s what it’s, it is the rating [being 4-0] and who it was and that is what they known as.”
Smith was additionally admittedly confused about how that play was assessed.
“I do not suppose my head hit something,” he stated. “My helmet got here off, however I did not get hit within the head. I did not actually know what occurred. I used to be enjoying the puck, and the subsequent factor I do know, I am getting buried into the tip boards.”
Earlier than that, the veteran goaltender was lastly in his aspect after a tricky begin to the Battle of Alberta. Smith was pulled from Recreation 1 after permitting three targets on 9 photographs in a 9-6 Oilers loss. He rebounded effectively with a 37-save exhibiting in a 5-3 Recreation 2 victory and had made 28 saves on Sunday previous to being eliminated.
Koskinen spent solely 4:19 in web — and did not face a single shot — earlier than Smith returned to a standing ovation. He did surrender one purpose, to Oliver Kylington, after coming again however was in any other case pristine.
On some other night time, Smith’s coming and going may need sufficed for goalie drama. Not so in Recreation 3. By its finish, all 4 goalies from each groups had made appearances.
On the time of Smith’s departure, Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom had already been pulled after giving up 4 targets — all within the second interval — on 34 photographs (.882 SV%). Flames backup Dan Vladar was in web for the third.
It has been a rocky collection general for Markstrom, who had allowed 11 targets via Video games 1 and a couple of (.838 SV%). Markstrom’s sensational common season (.922 SV%, 2.22 GAA) made him a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, and he appeared the half within the first interval of Recreation 3, making all 21 stops.
Edmonton opened the floodgates simply 52 seconds into the second interval, although. Zach Hyman was on the board first, then Evander Kane scored a pure hat trick in solely six minutes. Leon Draisaitl had 4 factors on the night time. Connor McDavid had three.
Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft appeared to take a dig at Sutter’s administration of Markstrom after Recreation 3, declaring that whereas Smith was restricted by accidents within the common season, Markstrom had performed numerous hockey.
“Mike Smith solely performed 28 video games within the common season, and 10 within the playoffs,” Woodcroft stated. “He is 38 and in midseason type. He did not play 63 video games [during] the season and have the damage and tear that comes with that.”
Edmonton now leads the best-of-seven collection 2-1. Recreation 4 is Tuesday.