CALGARY - Following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Calgary Flames were steamed at referee Michael (Mick) McGeough.
The Flames appeared to take a 3-1 lead on Friday, eight minutes into the third period on a two-man advantage, when Daymond Langkow tipped a shot by Alex Tanguay through goalie Jose Theodore's legs and just across the line.
But referee McGeough immediately blew the whistle to signify he lost sight of the puck much to the chagrin of the Flames and their 19,289 fans at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
"I hope he'll admit his mistake because it was definitely a mistake," Tanguay said. "I made the pass to Langkow and he touched the puck.
"The puck, you can clearly see it on the replay, it never stopped moving, so there's no reason why the whistle should have been blown or at least why he didn't review it."
Calgary coach Mike Keenan also chimed in on the matter and further complained that the referees missed a call which led to the game-tying goal by Marek Svatos with 4:15 left in the third period.
"Mick McGeough blew the call, there is no explanation," Keenan said, adding that Svatos tripped Calgary defenceman Robyn Regehr before scoring his goal. "He knows it, we know it, everybody in the building knew it and the only explanation that is worth getting from him is why didn't they call Svatos for tripping on the tying goal. "That was more of a non-call than a missed call. Missed calls happen in the game. McGeough, he knows he blew the whistle too quickly."
Joe Sakic set up the game-winner by Ryan Smyth 23 seconds into overtime and added a goal of his own for the Avalanche (6-4-0) to reach the 1,600-point plateau. He's scored 100 of those points (40-60) against the Flames.
"We feel very fortunate to get the two points and that's what great goaltending will do for you," said Sakic, who commended Theodore for his efforts in stopping 39 of 41 shots. "The best penalty killer is your goaltender and all the credit goes to Theo for keeping us in there and giving us a chance."
With the win, Colorado coach Joel Quenneville now has 400 career NHL victories.
"Well, we are very fortunate," Quenneville admitted. "It was one of those games where we were on our heels. We played a lot in our own end, withstood a couple of 5-on-3s, and Jose made some key saves and kept us in the game.
"It was a game we certainly didn't deserve to win but sometimes you get goaltending wins."
Tanguay and Matthew Lombardi scored for the Flames (5-3-3), who are now 3-1-1 on their current seven-game homestand.
Celebrating his 31st birthday, Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made 19 saves in a losing effort.
The Avalanche opened the scoring when Sakic converted a feed from Wojtek Wolski at 7:27 of the first period.
A short time later, Tanguay snuck behind the Avalanche defence but was thwarted by Theodore on his breakaway attempt.
Tanguay wouldn't be denied on his next try. He took a pass from Langkow and snapped a quick shot to the top corner to tie the game.
The Flames took a 2-1 lead in the second on a goal by Lombardi, who stripped Avalanche defenceman Jeff Finger before snapping a quick shot past Theodore.
After two periods the Flames had a 27-13 advantage in shots and could have been up by more than a goal if not for some great saves by Theodore, who robbed Langkow with a glove grab before turning aside a pair of quality scoring chances from Craig Conroy.
"With a 3-1 game on the road it's tough to come back so I wanted to make sure it's a 2-1 game and the guys did the rest," Theodore said. "With the character we have, I'm aware that if you leave it 1-1, 2-1 or a close game they're going to find a way to score."
Notes: Avalanche defenceman Jordan Leopold will be sidelined for about two months due to wrist surgery. .. Forward Milan Hejduk missed the game with a back injury.