After Lucic departed, Smith was temporarily removed from the game due to concussion protocol and went to the dressing room with trainers, prompting the Oilers to place Mikko Koskinen in goal. But Smith returned after four minutes of play had passed. The Oilers were leading 4-0 at the time.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Smith said after the game. “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.”
The hit by Lucic, which earned him a major for charging and a 10-minute misconduct, prompted a melee behind the Oilers’ goal, as Smith’s teammates came to his aid. Three players from each team, in addition to Lucic, were assessed rough minors and sent to the penalty box. Matthew Tkachuk served Lucic’s penalty.
Smith allowed a goal upon his return but the Oilers won 4-1 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference second-round series.
The veteran goalie acknowledged he was reluctant to leave the game when the concussion spotter deemed it was required.
“It’s not an ideal situation to leave the game in the third period with 11 minutes left, but I get the reason for it,” he said. “I think the player should have some say in that, but obviously it is what it is.”
Flames head coach Darryl Sutter didn’t agree with the call.
“They called it charging, correct?” he said after the game. “Could you imagine if (Lucic) did charge? What would happen there? He actually tried to slow down a bit, I think. It is what it is. It’s the score and who it was.”
Teammate Evander Kane, who scored a hat trick in the game, didn’t pull any punches when asked for his assessment. “It was obviously playoff frustration, running our goalie,” Kane said. “The refs made the right call.”
It didn’t take long for Twitter to light up with various takes on the hit.