SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers drop the Hemmer

Erik Cole (left) celebrates Ales Hemsky's first goal against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. (Sun...

Erik Cole (left) celebrates Ales Hemsky's first goal against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Jason Franson)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

The Concussion Kid isn't wasting any time sharing his pain - two games into his comeback from a lingering injury Ales Hemsky left two full teams with major headaches of their own.

The Oilers' game breaker scored two key goals on Sunday to spark Edmonton to a 6-3 win over Phoenix and then added two goals and two assists last night, including the game-tying helper with 4:48 left in the third period and the game-winning goal with 35 seconds left, to stun the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3.

"That was unreal. I haven't seen anything like that in a while," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "Two goals, two assists, we've seen that before, but never four absolute world class plays that couldn't have come at a better time for us. He willed the game for us, just a terrific individual effort by Ales."

Hemsky set up Lubomir Visnovsky with a sweet cross-ice pass for Edmonton's first goal, scored in the second period on lightning fast deke, set up Denis Grebeshkov with another cross-ice beauty late in the third to tie it 3-3 and brought the house down with his top corner bullet to win it in the final minute.

"He's one of the elite players in the league," said defenceman Sheldon Souray. "The difference with him in the lineup or without him in the lineup is ... well, just look at the last two games, we're a different team.

"His performance has spoken for itself; he misses 10 games and comes back and totally dominates the game. I'm jealous."

That's six points in six periods since coming back from the Dec. 28 concussion that sidelined him for 10 games.

"It wasn't even just the points," said Sam Gagner. "Every time he had the puck it seemed like a game of keepaway. The only way they were getting it away from him is if he was passing it off. When your top guys are going like that it sends a whole lift of energy through your team. He was unbelievable tonight."

"He'll do something every game that will make you shake your head, 'how did he do that?,' " added Tom Gilbert. "He's a difference maker. Lucky for us we have him on our team because he sees about three options every time he has the puck, and if you're defending it you have to guess which option he's going to choose. You never know what he's going to do with the puck.

"You play him too tight, he's going to make a pass, you play him too loose he's going to score a goal with 30 seconds left. He's tough to defend."

He's also notoriously shy in front of a microphone. Normally out of his gear and out of the dressing room long before the media get in - game or practice - Hemsky had no choice last night but to sit in there and talk about what he'd done.

"I probably should have a break every year like that," he grinned. "It's a great feeling. Everything kind of went for me and it's a huge win for us.

"I'm trying to shoot the puck and make some plays and everything just went for me. They just went in for me today, I'm pretty happy about that."

The wins sends Edmonton into the all-star break on a roll, having 10 of their last 15 and five of their last six.


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