With just four seconds left to play in the game, Ales Hemsky looked like he had scored on Dallas goalie Marty Turco but referee Mick McGeough called the goal off. He had blown the whistle a heartbeat before on the face-off, convinced that Shawn Horcoff had made a glove pass off the draw.
It was something the replays showed did not occur.
Upon further reflection, McGeough agreed.
"It was a blown call on my part," he said after the game. "It was poor judgment on my part. I thought he had his hand on the puck on the face-off but it was his stick. My judgment was poor on the play."
The soldout crowd at Rexall Place littered the ice with debris following the call.
"It was a retarded call," Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish snapped. "There is no other explanation for it. I know he is a veteran official and at times I have found his antics humorous. But if this is the product of that there is a problem.
"It was a ridiculous call. I had no idea what he had called. Nobody saw the hand pass on the play because quite clearly there wasn't one. It's beyond reason.
"He should be suspended."
While Turco was sympathetic toward the Oilers, he said he heard the whistle and had stopped moving on Hemsky's shot.
"The whistle had gone a long time before the puck went in," he said. "That's what we were going off of. It's a tough break for them. Who knows what would have happened?
"But the whistle went as he was shooting. I had already reacted to the whistle. I could have smothered it or swatted it away. I'm sure they are disappointed but by no means should that be thought of as a possible goal."
Dallas (11-2-0) opened the scoring with a controversial goal when Brenden Morrow beat Oilers (7-6-0) goaltender Dwayne Roloson with a wrist shot during a scramble in front of the Edmonton net.
Roloson contested that he had been interfered with on the play by Eric Lindros, but the goal was allowed.
"It was pretty clear what happened to me but obviously not clear
enough," said Roloson, who will have to wait to try again for his 300th career NHL game on this night. "He said I touched the puck but it doesn't really matter when a guy comes in the crease and takes me out of the play and they score a goal. It's a no goal and a penalty. It was blatant."
There was no dispute on the Stars' second goal of the game.
With just under two minutes to play in the first period, Dallas broke out on a two-on-one and Stu Barnes was able to thread the puck under sprawling Oilers defenceman Jason Smith to Niklas Hagman, who had a wide open net to shoot at.
The Stars outshot Edmonton 14-5 in the first.
Edmonton came out firing to start the second and got a big break four minutes in when Ryan Smyth's shot from behind the net went in off Turco's leg.
But the Stars were able to restore their two-goal edge late in the second as a seemingly innocent point shot by Trevor Daley eluded Roloson with just 58 seconds remaining in the period.
For the second game in a row the Oilers were able to get back to within striking distance late in the match as Petr Sykora scored his eighth of the season with Roloson on the bench for the extra attacker and just 1:25 left on the clock, setting up the drama of the dying seconds.
The Oilers now head on a five-game road trip starting in Montreal on Tuesday, hoping to improve upon their away record of 1-4.
The Stars head to Vancouver for their second of a four game road swing on Monday.
Notes: Oilers winger Ethan Moreau underwent surgery on his dislocated shoulder on Thursday in Cleveland and is expected to be lost to the team for at least 12 weeks. . . . With 16 points through his first 12 games, Petr Sykora leads the Oilers in points. Sykora, a late off-season free agent signing, didn't reach 16 points until his 27th game last season. He got his 17th point late in this game. . . . With seven points through the first 13 games of his NHL career, Patrick Thoresen is already the second-highest scoring Norwegian of all-time. . . . The Stars are off to their best start in franchise history with 11 wins through their first 13 games. Their second-best start was 1996-97 when they opened 9-2-1. . . . Dallas is unbeaten when scoring the first goal of the game this season (7-0-0). The only other teams in the league that are still unbeaten after scoring the opening goal are Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Minnesota.