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Atta boy, Laddie

Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Stone and defenseman Ladislav Smid congratulate defenseman Lubomir...

Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Stone and defenseman Ladislav Smid congratulate defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky on his goal during the second period yesterday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. (QMI Agency)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

DALLAS -- It was only a matter of time before Ladislav Smid got one.

But who knew it would be almost two full years?

He sure didn't.

"It's been 151 games?" he asked incredulously. "Wow. It's a great feeling, especially since it helped the team to come back and win."

If you're going to break a slump that dates back to April 2007, you might as well make it count, and Smid's tying goal with 3:07 left in regulation yesterday was one of the biggest markers of the season, helping lift Edmonton to 2-0 on this road trip.

MISSED IT

"I didn't even see it go in," said Smid, who also assisted on Edmonton's first goal. "I was just trying to get the puck on net. It was good traffic by our forwards."

Smid logged 21:51 of ice time and finished plus 2, upping his team leading total to plus 12. He wanted more responsibility as an Oiler, he got it, and he's making the most of it.

"We're all happy," said head coach Pat Quinn, who likes Smid's gumption and heart. "He's a terrific kid and he competes hard. Some good things are happening for him now because of the way he does compete. It was nice to see and it was a big goal for us."

Smid is just happy to be establishing himself as a key guy.

"When you don't play that much you don't feel in the tempo and you're thinking about things you wouldn't normally think about when you're playing 19, 20 minutes," he said.

"It helps your confidence. You feel more like a part of the game. Plus, playing with Lubo (Visnovsky) helps me a lot, we talk a lot, he's a really good player with a lot of experience. I think it'll help my game overall."

The Czech and the Slovak have struck some pretty good chemistry.

"We go to dinner together, we spend a lot of time together," said Visnovsky. "We speak similar languages so we have lots of fun on the ice and off the ice.

"He's a very good player, a great puck handler. If he started thinking more about scoring goals, he'd score more because he's a very good player, not just defensively."

Clearly, Visnovsky, who knows a thing or two about being an offensive defenceman, sees something in his six-foot-three, 226-pound partner.

"We talk a lot and he tells me all the time, if you want to join the offence, do it, I'm going to back you up," said Smid.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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