Inconclusive evidence

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:38 PM ET

 According to the NHL, the phantom Flames goal shown on TV replays across Canada last night never entered the net.

 According to one video replay, the puck appeared to be across the line.

  A controversial play late in regulation time of the Flames 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning could have helped Calgary win its second Stanley Cup.

 With seven minutes remaining in regulation time and the game tied 2-2, Flames winger Martin Gelinas darted for the front of the Lightning net while teammate Oleg Saprykin slid a pass into the crease.

 As Gelinas turned to stop, the puck appeared to deflect off his right skate toward the goal-line as Bolts netminder Nikolai Khabibulin flicked out his right foot to make the save.

 But a replay shown moments later on Hockey Night in Canada revealed the puck might have crossed the line for the apparent winning goal, although the NHL later said the video was inconclusive.

 "Obviously, it didn't go in, a good save by (Khabibulin)," Gelinas said after Tampa tied the best-of-seven Cup final 3-3.

 "It was right on net but he made a good save there, it didn't go in. (Off-ice officials) would have called back if it would have gone in, I imagine. It looked like he made the save ... it was a good save."

 NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell said after the game the video supplied to the league provided inconclusive evidence.

 "We reviewed a number of camera angles and only one showed the puck," Campbell said in a statement.

 "From that angle, it was inconclusive whether the puck crossed the goal-line. Based on the angle of the image and the fact that the puck was in the air and on edge, there was insufficient evidence that the puck conclusively crossed the goal-line."

 "I thought we had the big play when Saprykin and Gelinas cut in there in the third at the end of that one powerplay," said Flames coach Darryl Sutter, who said he also saw it and agreed the replay didn't provide concrete evidence of a goal.

 "No, I looked at it and that's got to be a conclusive play.

 "I looked at it from two different angles and unless they have a different one, you can't say that's it's a goal.

 "I mean, it's close but the puck is like this. You know, like how do you -- you can't argue that point.

 "I am sure they did look at it."

 Commentators were split on whether the puck was in.

 The CBC's Ron MacLean and Don Cherry had opposing views.

 "It's like Anson Carter at the world championship all over again," said MacLean, referring to the overtime winner Carter scored at the 2003 worlds that needed to be reviewed.

 "No, I don't think it's in," replied Cherry.

 ABC commentator Gary Thorne was sure Gelinas scored.

 "Oh my gracious, it was across the line," Thorne said after seeing the play in slow motion.

 "That was absolutely in."


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