The year was 1986. The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers were facing off in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third time in their young rivalry. At the time, the Flames had never beaten Edmonton in the post-season, getting oh so close in 1984 before losing in seven games.
But in 1986 fate – and a passing gaffe from Steve Smith – was on their side.
It was April 30, 1986 at Northlands Coliseum. The series was tied at 3-3, with the Flames having squandered a chance to clinch the series at the Olympic Saddledome 48 hours prior – the Flames allowed five unanswered goals to blow a 2-0 second period lead and lose 5-2.
Game 7 was tense. As in Game 6, the Flames scored twice to spot themselves a 2-0 lead by the early second period off goals from Hakan Loob and Jim Peplinski. But like in Game 6, two Oilers goals tied the game and they headed into the third period tied 2-2.
Five minutes into the third period, Flames forward Perry Berezan chucked the puck deep into the Oilers zone and went for a line change. Steve Smith collected the puck and went to make an outlet pass. Unfortunately, he misjudged where Grant Fuhr was in the crease and the puck glanced off the back of his skate…and into the net, giving the Flames a 3-2 lead. Berezan, on the bench, was credited with the goal as the last Flames player to touch the puck. It happened to be Smith’s birthday.
The Oilers had 14:46 left in the game to tie things up. To their credit, the Flames held the Oilers off the board to capture their first playoff series win over the Oilers – and the only one they’ve ever achieved, to date.
Smith was taunted by Flames fans for the rest of his career, greeted with jeers of “Shoot!” whenever he held the puck in the defensive zone. He eventually played parts of three seasons with the Flames at the tail-end of his career, serving as captain, and spent a season as assistant coach as well.
It’s one of the most famous goals the Flames have ever scored, and it was scored by an opposing player into their own net.