by Lisa Brown on 12/03/11 at 05:30 AM ET
Oilers beat Blue Jackets 6-3
“They don’t ask how, it’s just how many” Ryan Jones reminded Sportsnet’s Gene Principe following his first multiple goal night in the NHL. Remarkably, Jones also earned his first hat-trick in a game that also saw scoring from defenceman Ladislav Smid.
The first two periods for the Oilers were less than inspired despite a terrific goal 21 seconds into the game by Jordan Eberle. Ales Hemsky looked lost and slow. Tom Gilbert had an unfortunate lapse of judgment that led to a goal against, and overall it looked as though the Columbus Blue Jackets would take four points from their Alberta meetings.
The third period was like an all new game for the Oilers, who managed to score 5 goals while Devan Dubnyk allowed only one. There must have been a very special message delivered by Oilers’ head coach during the final intermission; “If you’re going to lose a game, lose trying to win.” That’s it, that’s all that Renney tried to instill. No matter how simple the message, it worked.
After nearly two years with zero goals, Smid now has two goals in the span of a week. “I just closed my eyes and shot” Smid told Principe as he divulged the secret of his recent offence. Going into this season, Smid did have a plan for himself “I told myself that I should be more involved there and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Of course that is still two goals more than Dustin Penner and even Sam Gagner who has still been unable to score despite playing in the top six and seeing power play time. Gagner does have seven helpers on the season, one from this game. Gagner is not the only Oiler forward who has yet to score, and eventually you have to think that one should accidently bounce in off of him or Paajarvi or Belanger.
It was in the final frame that Ryan Jones scored two goals including an empty netter, much to the delight of the fans in Rexall Place. Jones has quickly become a fan favourite thanks to his high profile on twitter, his sense of humour and his game. Through the Oilers’ painful season last year, Jones was a highlight and a surprising source of goals. This year, Jones is producing no matter who his line mates are and is just as popular if not more so.
Scoring a hat-trick for Jones was “Unbelievable. I can’t even really explain the feeling. You see guys get them all of the time and you always wonder what if it was you and this time it was. It’s just exciting and the fans are great obviously.” Jones is never one to forget his fans; they just may chirp him on twitter if he didn’t.
“Just go for it” Renney told his team. “I can tolerate mistakes and errors and what not when we’re really trying to make things happen. But when we’re tentative and we’re not paying the price in the second and third effort department that’s when any coach is going to have a problem with that.” And Renney has likely had that problem many nights with this team. Tonight, even though the effort wasn’t consistent, in the end it came together.
This was another win and at the quarter mark of the season, but Renney isn’t losing sight of the big picture “If you want to be a playoff team you’ve got to find ways to get through these types of nights and so this is really important to our team.”
Blue Jacket Derek Dorsett scored two goals including the Oilers’ only shorthanded goal against this season. Dorsett was unimpressed with the final results “It’s a tough break but at the same time we’ve got to make sure that we shut out games like that.” The Blue Jackets have had less than a stellar start to the season and need to hold onto leads when they get them.
Blue Jacket’s head coach Scott Arniel didn’t look any more enthused when discussing the results; “When a team makes mistakes you have to capitalize, especially when you’re on the road.” Both teams didn’t seem to have trouble getting shots on net. The Jackets had 39 and the Oilers had 34. “We’re generating that much offence, something has to break” said Arniel of his team. Usually that would be true, but thankfully for Oilers fans the top ten goalie Devan Dubnyk made it to the arena. This was Dubnyk’s first win at home since the season opener October 9th, the shootout win against the Penguins.
The Oilers don’t get tomorrow off. Instead, the team must prepare for another matchup against the Calgary Flames. Unlike most other games this month, to many Oilers fans, games against the Flames are MUST wins. With five Ryans (Smyth, Nugent-Hopkins, O’Marra, Whitney and Jones), capable goaltending and this win under their belt the Oilers could have what it takes for a battle of Alberta win.
Look for Nikolai Khabibulin to get the start. At some point, Khabibulin had great luck against the Flames. All of that disappeared through the past two seasons, but maybe this year will be different.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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