The Calgary Flames beat the Minnesota Wild by a 2-0 score on Thursday night. Here are selected reactions from players and coaches following the game.
A few topics dominated the post-game conversation.
Matt Dumba’s hit on Mikael Backlund
Mikael Backlund was hit by Minnesota’s Matt Dumba with roughly 40 seconds left in the game. Backlund went down the tunnel after getting up.
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) December 7, 2018
Following the game, Flames head coach Bill Peters was asked his thoughts on the hit.
“I go back when they had the goalie out around the three minute mark,” said Peters, noting later the time was with around 2:54 left in the third. “We created a turnover in the neutral zone and Backlund had the puck and got tripped, that’s a goal. So that’s 3-0, game over. That’s where it should’ve ended.”
Peters’ argument was that under Rule 57.4, Backlund being tripped with an empty net should’ve resulted in a goal. (He obviously didn’t cite the rule, but that’s what his point was.)
If, when the opposing goalkeeper has been removed from the ice, a player in control of the puck (or who could have obtained possession and control of the puck) in the neutral or attacking zone is tripped or otherwise fouled with no opposition between him and the opposing goal, thus preventing a reasonable scoring opportunity, the Referee shall immediately stop play and award a goal to the attacking team.
[Morning After Note: We checked the video and there was clearly a Wild defender between Backlund and the open net when he fell, which (if penalized) wouldn’t result in an automatic goal.]
Peters was asked his opinion of the legality of the hit.
“Obviously it was a clean hit, there’s no penalty on the play.”
Peters noted that Backlund was in the quiet room when he saw him after the game so he didn’t have an update on his condition.
Sounds like Flames’ Forward Michael Backlund might be out for awhile after a hit from Matt Dumba.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) December 7, 2018
Ryan Lomberg’s late instigator penalty
Immediately after the hit, Ryan Lomberg hopped onto the ice and engaged Dumba in an altercation. Dumba kept his gloves on, threw no punches and received zero penalties. Lomberg received a fighting major, an instigator penalty and a game misconduct, per Rule 46.12 – which aims to eliminate fights in the late stages of games.
Per Rule 46.22, Lomberg might be getting an even longer time-out:
A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes of regulation time or anytime in overtime shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident.
When the one-game suspension is imposed, the Coach shall be fined $10,000 – a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.
The suspension shall be served unless, upon review of the incident, the Director of Hockey Operations, at his discretion, deems the incident is not related to the score, previous incidents in the game or prior games, retaliatory in nature, “message sending”, etc. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. This suspension shall be served in addition to any other automatic suspensions a player may incur for an accumulation of three or more instigator penalties.
No team appeals will be permitted either verbally or in writing regarding the assessment of this automatic suspension as all incidents are reviewed by the Director of Hockey Operations as outlined above.
It’s virtually impossible to argue that the fight had nothing to do with the hit on Backlund. It really sounds like he’s getting suspended.
When asked about his opinion on Lomberg standing up for his teammate, Peters had a pretty simple response: “2:54, the game should be over and none of this happens.”
Elias Lindholm’s disallowed goal
Peters was much less fired up about Lindholm’s first period goal that was disallowed after a coach’s challenge related to Johnny Gaudreau going off-side at the blueline.
“Well those are tough right?” said Peters. “I thought it was going to end up being inconclusive. I never have seen a [angle] where you can say hey it’s out. I haven’t seen that yet. I’m sure somebody has, but I haven’t.”
Lindholm had a similar reaction to the officials’ decision.
“I saw it on the jumbo-tron,” said Lindholm. “I think it was the right call. You never know. It’s tight. They were watching it for awhile, so you never know.”