Hemsky scored twice, including the winning goal with 1:06 remaining, to help the Oilers beat the Red Wings 4-3 in Game 6 Monday night and advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time since 1998.
The Oilers the league’s points leader in the regular season; it was the third straight playoffs that Detroit left in either the first or second round.
“A wild, wild game,” said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish as Edmonton clinched a playoff series at home for the first time in 14 years. “And now we move on.”
Hemsky got the winner by working a give-and-go with Sergei Samsonov after skating in from center ice.
“I just told myself to stay with it,” said Hemsky. `It’s amazing, a great feeling.”
Fernando Pisani also scored twice for the Oilers in their four-goal third period.
“I haven’t seen anything like that,” Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson said. “The place erupted. It was unbelievable.”
Roloson, who was a trading deadline pickup from Minnesota, is now an Edmonton hero after finishing the series with 211 saves.
The Oilers tied it 3-3 on a power play, when the puck deflected off Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff to Hemsky at the side of the net, where he whacked away. Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom pushed Hemsky into net, and the puck went in with it.
The play went under video review to determine if the puck was kicked in. After a lengthy delay, officials eventually awarded Hemsky the goal with 3:53 remaining. .
“I literally thought the roof was going to blow off Rexall (Place),” said MacTavish. “My head is still ringing.”
Franzen flicked in a rebound at 10:07 of the third to put the Red Wings ahead 3-2.
Pisani had deked Red Wings goalie Manny Legace and scored with a shot through the legs to tie the game 2-2 at 6:40 of the third.
“We’re a good skating team,” said Pisani. “We knew going into the third period our best hockey was yet to come.”
Pisani also converted a rebound of Jarret Stoll’s shot on a power-play at 2:56 of the third period as the sellout crowd began loud chants of “Manny” in an attempt to get Legace off his game.
Detoit becomes the seventh No. 1 playoff seed to be bounced by a No. 8 team since the NHL’s current playoff format was instituted in 1994.
“I am shocked we’re in this situation,” said Detroit’s first-year coach Mike Babcock, who added neither the forwards nor the goaltending of Legace was good enough. “They found a way to win and we’re going home.”
The Red Wings controlled the second period, outshooting the Oilers 17-2. Steve Yzerman set up Lang’s power-play goal to make it 2-0. Red Wings captain Yzerman sat out the previous two games with a nagging back injury.
Yzerman’s point moved him ahead of Bryan Trottier into eighth spot with 185 career playoff points.
“He’s been a courageous competitor,” said Babcock. “He probably shouldn’t have played tonight, but he perceives this as his team and he wanted to lead them.”
Zetterberg got the Red Wings a 1-0 lead late in the first period, when the Oilers outshot Detroit 15-10. The forward scored on Roloson six times this series.
“We didn’t play like the No. 1 seed,” Red Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider said. “We put ourselves in a position where it could all be over early.”
And it is.
^Notes: The Oilers’ last postseason victory was in seven games over Colorado … Detroit finished the season with 124 points, 11 more than any other team. Edmonton had 95 … The top two seeds in the Western Conference are now eliminated; Dallas previously fell to Colorado … Hemsky had a game-high six shots on goal.