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Jones making most of Hemsky's absence

Tuesday, 12.07.2010 / 2:32 PM / NHL Insider

By Robin Brownlee - NHL.com Correspondent

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Jones making most of Hemsky's absence
Ales Hemsky's injury has opened the door for Ryan Jones to get more playing time on a top line for the Oilers, and he's taking advantage of his chance.
EDMONTON -- With Ales Hemsky out for a month with a strained groin, the window of opportunity has swung wide open for Edmonton Oilers journeyman forward Ryan Jones.

Jones, 26, who began the season on Edmonton's bottom two lines, will play right wing alongside Sam Gagner and rookie Magnus Paajarvi when the Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET, TSN).

"You never wish injury upon anybody, especially guys on your team and a guy like Ales who is a huge part of our team," Jones said. "But injuries do happen in hockey and you have to be ready to fill in for guys."

With Hemsky sitting out five of the previous six games because of the injury, Jones has seen his ice time increased. He lined up with Gagner and Paajarvi against St. Louis last Saturday and scored the game's first goal in a 2-1 overtime win against the Blues.

Jones, claimed off waivers from Nashville on March 3, has 6 goals and 9 points in 26 games. His single-season high for goals in the NHL is seven, a feat he accomplished twice with the Predators.

While Jones likely isn't a long-term fit as a top-six forward, this is a chance for him to show Renney and the coaching staff more dimensions to his game.

"I have to play my best every night," Jones said. "I have to show consistency. Playing with these guys, they can make anybody look good, but you have to show you can get it done over a period of time."

Streaking -- Edmonton's current four-game win streak is the longest since the Oilers won five straight from Dec. 3 to Dec. 11, 2009. That streak ended with a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles Dec. 15 and began a stretch in which the Oilers lost 20 of their next 21 games.

Around the rink -- Joffrey Lupul returned to Anaheim's lineup Sunday against Phoenix, marking his first NHL game in 362 days (Dec. 8, 2009) after back surgery and a blood infection. Lupul is wearing No. 19 now, after wearing No. 14 last season. ... The Ducks have been shut out in back-to-back games, losing 4-0 to Detroit last Friday and 3-0 to Phoenix. ... Oilers rookie Taylor Hall scored the overtime winner against the Blues. He has 6 goals in his last eight games, and was named NHL Third Star of the Week on Monday. ... Nikolai Khabibulin, who has allowed just one goal total in winning his last two starsts, will be in net again for the Oilers.
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