Controversial Cale Makar goal caps absurd start to Oilers-Avs series

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Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar scored a controversial late goal in the first period of Game 1 of the Western Conference final against the Edmonton Oilers. (Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar scored a controversial late goal in the first period of Game 1 of the Western Conference final against the Edmonton Oilers. (Getty Images)

We couldn't even get through the first period of the Western Conference final without some Cale Makar magic, and a little controversy.

With time dwindling in the opening frame and just nine seconds after the Edmonton Oilers tied the game at two, Cale Makar sniped a puck from the top of the right circle to cap off an action packed first period in Game 1. Before a raucous Ball Arena crowd could settle down, Oilers' head coach Jay Woodcroft called the referees over and asked to challenge the goal for offside.

A replay on the television broadcast showed what seemed to be a clear offside, with commentators and viewers alike expecting a quick review and a disallowed goal.

But to just about everyone's surprise, the goal stood and Edmonton was assessed a bench minor for a failed challenge.

Makar was ruled to have lost control of the puck as he entered the zone, allowing Valeri Nichushkin to tag up and get back onside before he regained control of the puck on the Oilers side of the blue line.

Baffled hockey fans took to Twitter to express their confusion and frustration with the league and the application of the rulebook.

To add insult to injury for the Oilers, Nazem Kadri scored on the ensuing power play early in the second period to bring the Avalanche's tally to four.

Oilers goalie Mike Smith was pulled after allowing six goals on 25 shots just before the midway mark of the game. There was more goalie chaos at the other side of the rink as Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper left the game during the second period with an upper-body injury and is doubtful to return, according to the team.

Through two periods, Colorado and Edmonton combined for 11 goals as Game 1 entered the final frame with the Avs leading 7-4. An omen for the rest of the series, we hope.

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