ANAHEIM, Calif. – Milan Lucic sat in his locker room stall at Honda Center and his voice boomed over a crowd of reporters.
Lucic’s Edmonton Oilers had just dropped a double-overtime game that was tied up with 15 seconds left after a review determined an Anaheim Ducks goal by forward Rickard Rakell wasn’t aided by goaltender interference.
The Ducks ended up beating the Oilers 4-3 on a Corey Perry goal in the second overtime.
It was the second straight game the Oilers felt they should have won goaltender interference review.
“I have no idea anymore what goalie interference is,” Lucic said. “If someone knows call me and tell me because it’s a shame that we are where we are right now with a call like that.”
According to Lucic and goaltender Cam Talbot, Ducks forward Ryan Kesler had his arm wrapped around Talbot’s leg in the crease when the goal was scored. The NHL said Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse caused Kesler to make contact with Talbot in the explanation on why the goal counted. The Oilers believed Kesler’s inability to untangle himself from Talbot helped lead to the goal, which was why it shouldn’t have counted.
“I mean, guy falls on the goalie and wraps his hand around the goalie’s pad. I don’t even know what goalie interference is anymore to be perfectly honest,” Lucic said. “It’s an absolute joke, especially two really good referees can’t make the right call at the right time, especially when the guy has two, three seconds to get up off the ice and he has his hand wrapped around the goalie’s leg and the goalie can’t get up to make a save and it’s still a goal. It’s unbelievable,”
Talbot explained that he couldn’t move his leg to try to make a stop because of Kesler.
“I mean I couldn’t bring (my leg) back underneath me, there was no way I could do that and I watched the replay and like he has a chance to get up and almost looks like he kind of even digs in over my pad and makes it look like he’s just holding on so I don’t know,” Talbot said. “The only thing I got to see was the jumbotron replay so maybe they have another angle. I don’t know.”
Oilers coach Todd McLellan joined his players’ chorus of criticism after the game as well.
“Interference? You’re asking the wrong guy. I don’t know what interference is anymore,” he said. “Obviously Kesler was pushed in. There’s no doubt about that but we have a strong belief that he had wrapped his arm around Talbs’ leg but I don’t know what it is anymore so you have to ask somebody else.”
Edmonton captain Connor McDavid was a little more deferential to the officials in his comments. He seemed to understand that overturning that crucial of a goal was a difficult call in Anaheim’s building.
“It’s a mad scramble at the net. (Talbot) didn’t really have a chance to make the save. Ultimately, it’s a tough call for the ref to make. He’s deciding the game,” McDavid said. “It’s tough for him to call.”
Part of Edmonton’s frustration over this call had in part to do with a Ryan Getzlaf goal in Game 4 that the Oilers thought was helped by Corey Perry’s clipping Talbot before the puck went in. That goal put that game at 2-1 and helped the Ducks start on their comeback and eventual victory.
“It’s unbelievable, last game it goes in blocker side and they bump his blocker. Tonight they wrap his arm around his leg and he can’t get up and it’s still a goal,” Lucic said.
Though the Oilers were upset about the game-tying goal, they understood they should have closed out the game in stronger fashion.
Anaheim scored three goals in the final 3:16 of the game to send the contest to overtime. It was the first time in league playoff history a team had scored three goals in under four minutes to win a game or send it to overtime.
“It’s frustrating, but at the same time, we had a 3-0 lead with three-and-a-half minutes to go,” Talbot said. “We had a great opportunity to win that game.”
Before the Ducks’ comeback, the Oilers had played one of their more impressive games of the series. They scored three goals in the second period and McDavid picked up his first multi-point game of the postseason with a goal and an assist. In the third period, the Oilers limited the Ducks’ overall chances before the comeback started.
The Oilers also took some solace in the fact that luck, and not lack of effort, played a role in the Ducks’ comeback. On Ryan Getzlaf’s goal with 3:16 left, his shot deflected off Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl and into the net.
Cam Fowler’s goal with 2:41 left was helped when a shooting lane opened after Adam Larsson lost his stick.
“We’re disappointed but we can’t get mad at anybody because they were all effort opportunities and that’s a good sign for us,” McLellan said. “Bad sign we gave it up, good sign it was effort based and it wasn’t delinquent.”
The Oilers have shown an ability to bounce back from tough losses this postseason, which is also a good sign for them. In the last round they were beat 7-0 by the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 and then won two straight games to win that series. But San Jose’s win didn’t set up an elimination scenario. This victory does, which makes the Oilers’ task at Rogers Place on Sunday that much more difficult.
“We’re all pissed off and we’re down. We’re allowed to feel those emotions. We’re allowed to feel that way, but we’ve got to come back with a game that’s that much better at home, and we can do that,” McLellan said. “We believe we could play with this team from Day One, so we’ll go home and regroup. Our guys have done a tremendous job all season, and we showed it again tonight. We weren’t very happy with what happened in Edmonton, and we responded with a heck of a game. We’re going to do the same thing. We have the ability to do that really well.”
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