Friday was a night Ryan Jones will never forget.
Jones capped his first NHL hat trick with an empty-net goal that sealed the Edmonton Oilers' 6-3 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rexall Place, snapping a three-game losing streak.
"It's a pretty cool feeling, especially the way that they came -- being able to score at an opportune time when we needed goals," Jones said. "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."
The Oilers' captain had a chance to hit the empty net himself, but slid the puck to Jones for his third of the night -- triggering a barrage of hats from the sellout crowd of 16,839.
"It's just reward for a hard-working hockey player," coach Tom Renney said.
Edmonton trailed 2-1 after two periods but scored five times in the final 20 minutes to improve to 8-3-2 at home.
"If you are going to lose a game, lose it trying to win it," Renney 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 and have won just twice on the road this season -- both after regulation.
"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 two 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 21 seconds into the game when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Columbus fed a long pass through traffic to Jordan Eberle, who beat Curtis Sanford for his 10th of the season. The goal came with Jackets' captain Rick Nash in the box for hooking.
Columbus owned the rest of the period, bombarding Devan Dubnyk with 21 shots and finally scoring with just over a minute left when Letestu hit the top corner during a 5-on-3 power play.
Columbus went up 2-1 at 10:16 of the second period thanks to a couple of Oiler mistakes. Tom Gilbert fanned on a power play pass in his own zone and then fell, giving Dorsett a breakaway. Dubnyk dove out to try to poke the puck away but Dorsett dodged him and scored a shorthanded goal.
Edmonton tied the game 1:41 into the third period when Jones swung around from behind the net and banked a puck off Sanford's pads for his seventh. The Oilers went up 3-2 at 6:19 on a rare goal by defenseman Ladislav Smid, who snuck in from the point to blow a slap shot past Sanford. It was Smid's second goal in a week after going nearly two years without one. Less than two minutes later, Jones took a backhand feed from Eric Belanger and lifted a shot over Sanford's shoulder for a 4-2 lead.
Dorsett fired home Marc Methot's rebound with nine minutes left to make it a one-goal game, but Horcoff fed Hemsky for an insurance goal with 4:03, then helped Jones complete his hat trick.
"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."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report