The Edmonton Oilers took a commanding 3-1 series lead against Calgary in the second round of the NHL playoffs last night with a 5-3 win at home. But it wasn't without drama, stemming from one of the most improbable goals you will ever see.
With Edmonton leading 3-2 in the third period and on the power play, Calgary defenseman Rasmus Andersson corralled a loose puck in the Calgary zone and flung it the length of ice.
Edmonton goalie Mike Smith somehow let it get past him.
That tied the game 3-3, but Edmonton responded with goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkin and Evander Kane to send the home crowd into delirium, push Calgary to the brink of elimination and take Smith off the hook.
"We stuck together as a group and never wavered," Smith told the Edmonton Journal after the game. "We found a way to win a game. In the playoffs, that's what you have to do. We could have easily packed it in after they got that long one on me, but we just showed resilience to come back and score a big goal there and push the series to 3-1."
Here's one more look at the puck getting past Smith, in slow motion:
And if you want to get a sense for the passion of the rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary, here's a New York Times story about the Battle of Alberta.