ANAHEIM, Calif. — Nate Thompson is now very much aware he spoiled the province-wide desire to resurrect the Battle of Alberta.
It was Thompson’s goal with less than nine minutes left in the NHL’s final game of the season that tied the Kings 3-3 Sunday and eventually gave his Anaheim Ducks the last point needed to clinch the Pacific division title over Edmonton.
A fine time to score his very first goal of the season.
Had the fourth-line centre not scored, and the Ducks lost, the Flames and Oilers would have squared off Wednesday night for Alberta’s first provincial playoff series since 1991.
“No one in the room said anything to me but I looked on twitter the next day and people wrote to me and told me I crushed the dreams of the Battle of Alberta,” chuckled the 32-year-old from Alaska who said the messages were good-natured.
“I don’t know if I’m sorry. I’m just going out there doing my job, so I’m not sorry. I heard I spoiled the party after the fact and people let me know in fun, mostly joking around.”
Now he has a chance to further agitate Albertans by trying to eliminate the Calgary Flames in the first round starting Thursday in Anaheim.
“If that’s the case I guess it means I’m doing to the right thing so I’m okay with that,” he smiled when told he could be Alberta’s most wanted man.
“It didn’t matter where we finished or who we played, it just mattered that we were doing the right things and playing well at the end of the season. For me, my game is not about goal scoring, but to chip in then, at a key time in the game, definitely helps the confidence. It definitely felt good.”
And hurts his reputation, as far as mildly-perturbed Albertans are concerned.