As expected, things are getting rough in the Battle of Alberta.  Calgary Flames forward Milan Lucic was a major penalty and a game misconduct from Game 3 after steamrolling Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith.



The collision came with 11:25 remaining in the third period, with the Oilers leading 4-0.   Lucic was handed a major penalty for charging by referee Francois St. Laurent.

The Flames winger was moving in fast on the forceheck. He appeared to brace for impact, possibly trying to minimize contact. It wasn’t enough. The on-ice officials confirmed the major penalty after video review.

From Rule 42:

A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates, jumps into or charges an opponent in any manner.

Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease area. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an  opposing player makes unnecessary contact with a goalkeeper. However, incidental contact, at the discretion of the Referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

The differentiation between a minor and major penalty for charging is entirely up to the referee, based on “the degree of violence of the check.”

“I definitely wasn’t trying to hit him. I was braking,” Lucic said. “If I actually did charge, we both wouldn’t be playing [the next game].”

Flames head coach Darryl Sutter echoed his winger’s thoughts.

“Could you imagine if [Lucic] did charge?” Sutter questioned. “What would happen there? He actually tried to slow down a bit, I think. It is what it is. It’s the score [being 4-0] and who it was.”

The hit from Lucic sparked a brawl that resulted in a slew of penalties, with six matching minors handed out – three to each team – prompting referee Francois St. Laurent to summarize his penalty announcement:


Smith was forced to leave the ice for evaluation based on a call from the NHL’s Concussion Spotters.  Mikko Koskinen stepped between the pipes until Smith returned – cleared by the medical staff – 4:15 of game time later.

“I don’t really know what happened,” Smith said. “I was out playing the puck and all of a sudden I’m getting buried into the boards. When you’re getting run through the end wall and not expecting it, it’s not an ideal situation.”

Lucic will not face disciplinary action from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for the hit.

While both players have spent time on both sides of the Battle of Alberta, they’ve never been teammates; Lucic left the Oilers for the Flames in 2018, the same year Smith departed Calgary for Edmonton.


Referees for the game were Gord Dwyer (#19) and Francois St. Laurent (#8). Linesmen were Kiel Murchison (#79) and Mark Shewchyk (#92).