DETROIT – Ales Hemsky didn’t have much of a strategy against Dominik Hasek in the shootout.
“I just came in and shot as hard as I could,” Hemsky said after scoring the only goal of the shootout to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 victory over Detroit on Thursday night, snapping the Red Wings’ seven-game winning streak. “You never know what to expect from him,” said Hemsky, a right wing in his fifth NHL season. “He’s a pretty smart goalie.”
Hemsky beat Hasek with a shot that went in off the goal post, ending the NHL-leading Red Wings’ second seven-game winning streak of the season.
Hemsky, Joni Pitkanen and Fernando Pisani scored for Edmonton in regulation, and Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner each had two assists. Dwayne Roloson made 39 saves.
Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and Mark Hartigan also scored for Detroit. Brian Rafalski had two assists and Hasek stopped 22 shots.
Both Hemsky and Hasek are from Pardubice, Czech Republic. Hemsky is 24 and Hasek will turn 43 in January.
Hasek, who broke into the NHL in 1990-91 – when Hemsky was seven – was also not sure how the youngster would approach the shootout chance.
“I didn’t know what to expect from him,” he said.
Despite the age difference, they are familiar with each other.
“We know each other pretty well from the summers,” Hasek said. “Played some games together then … I know him better from the NHL.”
Said Hemsky: “We practised a little. It’s fun playing against him.”
Hasek lay on the ice in apparent pain for a couple of minutes 2:35 into the third period after Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff slid into him in the crease and his skate hit Hasek in the side. He remained in the game, however.
“He just hit me with his skate. I lost my wind and I was in big pain for a while,” Hasek said.
The win improved the Oilers to 9-1 in shootouts.
“I’m at a loss to explain it, really,” Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. “When you’ve had that much success, you’re pretty relaxed going into it. I think that helps the shooters, knowing that.”
Zetterberg tied the score with 2:40 left in the third period, when he beat Roloson from the right circle, for his second goal of the game and 23rd of the season.
Roloson got plenty of credit from the Oilers.
“Great goaltending, both from Matty (Garon) and Roly (Roloson) the last couple of games. We need that,” Edmonton’s Patrick Thoresen said. “Every winning team needs a good goalie who plays for us so we can get confidence and we can move the puck a little bit more. He’s been good in handling the puck behind the net, too.”
Pisani gave Edmonton a 3-2 lead with 4:27 left in the second period, when he beat Hasek from the bottom of the left circle for his second goal.
That came just 2:09 after Zetterberg’s first goal, on the power play, tied it at 2-2 for Detroit. He tipped in Rafalski’s pass from the right point.
“We didn’t think we were on it from start to finish,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Hartigan, who had just been called up from Detroit’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, scored on Detroit’s first shot of the game 2:46 in. He beat Roloson from the bottom of the right circle after going around the net.
Hemsky’s power-play goal tied it with 7:32 left in the opening period when he put in a rebound for his 10th goal. Pitkanen put the Oilers ahead 2-1 with 2:54 left in the first period when he beat Hasek high after taking a pass at the blue line and dashing down the middle of the ice into the slot.