Hemsky lauded for his play

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

It was probably the two easiest assists Tom Gilbert will ever pick up.

He just simply had to give the puck to Ales Hemsky and watch the Edmonton Oilers star do the rest of the work.

"What can you say about him," Gilbert said. "He's a difference maker in a game. He's fun to watch and you're lucky to have him on your team because he makes plays that you are in awe of.

"He was definitely the difference-maker tonight."

Gilbert picked up an assist on two of the Oilers goals last night in a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. On both plays he simply gave the puck to Hemsky, then stood back and watched.

In the second period, Gilbert picked up a turnover and hit Hemsky streaking into the Blue Jackets zone.

Hemsky blew around defenceman Fedor Tyutin, cut to the net, and then lifted a backhand over goaltender Steve Mason.

Later in the third, on the power play, Gilbert handed the puck to Hemsky along the boards. He threaded a pass across to defenceman Denis Grebeshkov, who fired it into the open net for the tying goal with under five minutes left.

"You look for him as much as you can with speed," Gilbert said. "If you hit him with speed, he's as dangerous as can be. You look for him to loop around and just wait for him to open up.

"That play right there, we caught three of their guys sleeping. We just try to give him the puck as much as possible."

With their leading scorer back in the lineup, the Oilers were able to score on both their power-play opportunities last night.

"Defending a guy like that on the power play is tough," Gilbert said. "He sees the ice so well, he has three options on the power play and you have to try and guess what option he's going to use.

"He proved it tonight that his passes are dangerous and hits the guys in the open ice."

Hemsky rounded out the one-man show by snapping a shot over Mason for the game winner with 34.6 seconds left in the third period.

"We know he's an incredible player," said Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid. "He's got incredible skills. He's our best player."


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