Brent Seabrook scored the overtime winner as the Blackhawks rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Chicago will now play Los Angeles with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup finals.
Seabrook had been in coach Joel Quenneville’s doghouse after a slow start in the series, but he bounced back in spectacular fashion and admitted it was probably the most important goal he had ever scored.
“I don’t think I’ve scored a bigger goal than that,” he said. “With the Game 7 mentality, in overtime against Detroit, it was pretty special.
“I had some room. I didn’t really know what was going on. I just tried to get the puck on net and change and it bounced and went it.”
The team that has scored the first goal in the last 15 Game 7’s has went on to win the game and that statistic held true again on Wednesday as Patrick Sharp made it 1-0 early in the second period.
It was his team-leading seventh goal of the playoffs, and it came from an acute angle, a shot that Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard would like to have back.
The Blackhawks were now just 20 minutes away from winning the series; however, the Red Wings tied the game just 26 seconds into the final frame.
Henrik Zetterberg beat Corey Crawford to set up an extremely tense final 19 minutes.
Chicago thought it had won the game when Niklas Hjalmarsson slapped the puck past Howard late in the third period, but the goal was waved off as the whistle had blown just before he shot the puck.
The referee had called offsetting penalties for an incident that took place well away from the action, and the players and fans were furious with the call.
However, the Chicago Blackhawks kept their composure and ousted the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in overtime to advance to the Western Conference finals.