Oilers ' Jones picking up the slack
DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
|Edmonton Oilers' forward Ryan Jones tries to carry the puck past Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings during their game at Joe Louis Arena on Friday in Detroit, Michigan. (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
EDMONTON - PITTSBURGH — Considering the workload, Ryan Jones could have claimed time-and-a-half for his effort against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
If anything, it’ll certainly help his stock when it comes to negotiating a new contract.
Jones was all over the ice, playing nearly 25 minutes, while scoring the Oilers’ only goal in a 2-1 overtime loss.
It’s likely he’ll log similar minutes Sunday afternoon as the Oilers round out a five-game road trip in Pittsburgh against the Penguins.
“It’s just one of those things, when your name gets yelled you go out and give it your everything,” Jones said. “If it gets yelled a bunch of times, you keep doing it over and over.”
In Detroit, Jones was double-shifted, playing on the Oilers second line and then taking a spot on the fourth line.
Despite dressing 12 forwards, the Oilers kept enforcer Steve MacIntyre stapled to the bench, leaving his spot open for Jones to fill.
“It was just one of those things, I was out on the second shift, then sent out on the fourth shift,” Jones said. “Tom (Renney) rolled with it for a while, then the third period came around and he said he was going to run (Liam) Reddox and (Magnus) Paajarvi through there to kind of give me a little bit of a break. But like I said, when I get the tap, I just go over the boards.”
It was an impressive outing for Jones, who scored his career-high 15th goal of the season. His previous high was seven with the Nashville Predators.
The goal against the Red Wings came after he had drilled Tomas Holmstrom along the boards, then found himself with the puck along the wing. Jones broke in and snapped a shot through goaltender Jimmy Howard.
“It was the old twisted wrister,” smiled Jones after the game. “That’s my signature.”
Unfortunately for the Oilers, they could not hold on to the one-goal lead despite frustrating the Wings for the majority of the contest.
Nicklas Lidstrom scored the tying goal with 25 seconds left in the third period, banking a point-shot off Andrew Cogliano’s skate. Pavel Datsyuk then went on to score the winner in overtime.
“That was a kick in the gut,” Jones said. “It seemed like we were in the (penalty) box the whole game. It was like we couldn’t do anything right out there. We battled the whole way, it comes down to the end and goes off one of our guys and into the net. That’s the way it goes sometimes I guess.”
The Oilers are hoping to ride the momentum of a strong effort into their game against the Penguins Sunday.
The Oilers took the day off Saturday, while the Penguins went on to lose to 3-0 the Montreal Canadiens in an afternoon encounter.
“That (Friday) was a game that we battled hard for 64 minutes and change,” Jones said. “We need to play a lot of games like that over the course of the remainder of the season in order to win a few.”
Notes: Ladislav Smid was sporting a bandage on his right hand after taking a Nicklas Lidstrom shot on the knuckle Friday. Despite a massive bruise, the Oilers defenceman expects to play Sunday against the Penguins.