EDMONTON – The Columbus Blue Jackets couldn’t keep up with Jones.
Ryan Jones scored his first career hat trick as the Edmonton Oilers snapped a three-game losing skid with a 6-3 victory over the last-place Blue Jackets on Friday.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” Jones said. “Especially the way that they came. Being able to score at an opportune time when we needed goals. And then such an unselfish play by Shawn Horcoff to get me the empty-netter. That meant a ton and showed what a captain and leader he is.”
Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid also scored for the Oilers (13-10-3), who improved to 8-3-2 at home this year.
Oilers head coach Tom Renney was glad to see his team explode for five third-period goals after struggling for much of the game.
“If you are going to lose a game, lose it trying to win it,” he said. “I just wanted them to go for it in the third and they did.
“It was a huge win. It showed that they were willing to take responsibility for this season. Battling through adversity is important. It develops more resiliency and resolve and gives you more arrows in your quiver.”
Derek Dorsett had a pair of goals and Mark Letestu also scored for the Blue Jackets (7-16-3), who have lost three of their last four.
“When you give up that many goals in the third period to lose it is definitely disappointing,” Dorsett said. “It’s really frustrating. We have been battling hard for tow points and every point counts for us right now. We are a desperate team and it felt like tonight slipped away from us.”
The Oilers opened the scoring on their first shot of the game just 21 seconds in. With Columbus captain Rick Nash in the penalty box for hooking, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made a long pass through traffic to Eberle, who beat Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford for his 10th goal of the season.
After taking over the momentum for the remainder of the period, the Blue Jackets finally tied it up with just over a minute to play as Letestu picked the top corner past Edmonton starter Devan Dubnyk on a two-man advantage.
Columbus outshot Edmonton 21-7 in the first period.
Columbus went up 2-1 midway through the second after a couple of Oiler gaffes. Tom Gilbert fanned on a power play pass in his own zone and then fell, giving Dorsett a breakaway. Dubnyk gambled and dove out to poke the puck away but Dorsett dodged and scored the short-handed marker.
Edmonton tied the game again just under two minutes into the third period as Jones swung around from behind the net and banked a puck off Sanford’s pads for his seventh of the year.
The Oilers went up 3-2 four minutes later as Smid scored a rare goal, creeping in from the point to unleash a slapshot that blew past Sanford. It was Smid’s second goal in a week after going nearly two years without one.
The Oilers went up 4-2 less than two minutes later. Eric Blenager made a nice backhand feed to Jones, who lifted the puck over Sanford’s shoulder.
The Blue Jackets came back with a goal of their own with nine minutes to play. Dubnyk stopped Marc Methot’s shot but Dorsett scored his second of the game on the rebound.
Edmonton got some insurance with four minutes left as Horcoff fed Hemsky and he made a beautiful move to deke past Sanford and slide the puck into the net.
Columbus pulled Sanford in the final minute, and Jones completed his hat trick with an empty-netter.
“We said for the third period that we had to throw everything at them,” Jones said. “That’s exactly what we did. We threw bodies and pucks at the net and they found a way to go in.”
The Oilers are back at it on Saturday night as they play host to the Calgary Flames. The Blue Jackets have a break until Tuesday when they will visit Montreal.
Notes: It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams, who each won two of their four matches last year.…Columbus F Jeff Carter was a surprise scratch for the Blue Jackets, out with a suspected leg injury. F Kristian Huselius was activated from injured reserve after missing the first 25 games of the season with a pectoral injury.…The Jackets came into the game with a record of 2-12-1 when either Carter or James Wisniewski was out of the lineup.…Ryan Smyth played his 796th game for the Oilers, moving him into fourth place in games played for the team, ahead of current assistant coach Kelly Buchberger.…Hall of Fame goalie Grant Fuhr returned to Edmonton to drop the puck for a ceremonial faceoff.