Jarome Iginla and Matt Cooke tried their best to decide Game 7, and the series, until Martin Gelinas ended both.
Gelinas scored 1:25 into overtime as the visiting Calgary Flames stunned the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2 at General Motors Place to clinch their Western Conference quarter-final in seven games.
The sixth-seeded Flames will face the top-ranked Detroit Red Wings in the conference semis.
Gelinas swatted a second rebound between the pads of rookie goaltender Alex Auld, left sprawled across the crease after tough stops on Stephane Yelle and Iginla.
"I just kind of threw it in and, fortunately, it went in," Gelinas told Hockey Night In Canada.
"This is what you play for, to come out on top. Everybody played hard and we got the win."
Gelinas' winner was a power-play goal because Canucks defenceman Ed Jovanovski's third-period high-sticking penalty carried over into overtime.
"It's tough to lose, period," Jovanovski said. "But to have an outcome on a situation like that is tough."
Iginla notched two goals and one assist, linemate Craig Conroy added two assists and netminder Miikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves as Calgary won its first playoff series since capturing the 1989 Stanley Cup.
"This is so special," Iginla said. "It was a very tough series."
"It was fun," Kiprusoff added. "We did a great job to come back and win this game."
Recent history suggested the outcome might be otherwise as the Flames were 0-7 since 1991 when poised to win a series.
"Every time this group has been challenged, they've met that challenge," Flames coach and general manager Darryl Sutter said.
Cooke scored twice for the Canucks, his second goal coming off a spectacular rush by Markus Naslund with six seconds to go in regulation.
Auld totalled 25 stops substituting for Dan Cloutier, sidelined with a sprained right ankle suffered in Game 3.
"It was a great series, as far as emotion and teams competing real hard," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "Obviously, we're really disappointed.
"In the end, they wanted it a little bit more than us."
Vancouver outshot Calgary by a slim 7-6 margin in an otherwise evenly-matched opening period that offered only one power play apiece.
Iginla took three shots on Auld, while defencemen fired four shots at Kiprusoff.
The second period proved even more cautious as the teams combined for a mere six shots until Conroy's cross-checking minor at 10:29 put the Canucks on a power play.
The Canucks elected to crowd the crease and work the puck deep, but Kiprusoff stopped three point-blank shots to keep it 0-0.
Pinching deep wound up costing the Canucks, however, as Conroy counter-attacked the moment he stepped out of the penalty box.
Conroy was the puck by Matthew Lombardi, skated into the Vancouver zone and backhanded a pass to Iginla, who, in full flight, buried his fourth goal of the series between Auld's pads for a 1-0 lead with 7:10 left in the second.
"He was as dominating tonight as I've seen one player in one game in the playoffs," Sutter said of Iginla, who double-shifted for a team-high 27-plus minutes played.
Vancouver thought it had the tying goal minutes later when Mike Keane stuffed the puck under Kiprusoff's left pad, only to be told the whistle had blown before it crossed the goal-line.
Cooke finally tied it off a faceoff, whisking a Jovanovski rebound behind Kiprusoff 7:32 into the third.
Two minutes after that, Cooke drew a four-minute major penalty for high-sticking Rhett Warrener and that resulted in Iginla's go-ahead goal.
Cruising backwards through the crease, Iginla deftly tipped Jordan Leopold's point shot to his forehand and deked around Auld for his second on the night and fifth overall.
But with under 20 seconds remaining in regulation, Jovanovski in the penalty box and Auld on the bench in favour of an extra skater, Iginla backhanded the puck off the right goal post.
That led to one final desperation dash from Naslund, who determinedly carried the puck into the Calgary zone and backhanded a shot that Kiprusoff stopped.
But Cooke lifted the rebound over Kiprusoff's left shoulder to tie it with six seconds left.
with files from CP Online