Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Rare 'Double' for David Jones - Goals and a Victory

It was the widest smile we've seen from David Jones yet and why not, considering the circumstances.

Not only had the 29-year-old scored his first two goals since Nov. 29, but his seventh and eighth goals of the season came in a Flames victory, a 'win win' combination that shouldn't be that rare yet was a feat that had somehow eluded him since coming to Calgary.
  • His first goal - In a 5-4 shootout loss in Washington in the season opener.
  • His second goal - In a 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver in Calgary's home opener
  • His third goal - In a 4-2 home ice loss to Toronto on Oct. 30
  • His fourth goal - In a 7-3 drubbing at the Saddledome by Dallas on Nov. 14
  • His fifth and sixth goals - The only goals in a one-sided 5-2 loss in Anaheim
During that agonizingly long eight-week stretch since he last lit the lamp, Jones had gone 17 games without a goal, had missed eight games with an eye injury and found himself in the press box one night with the indignity of being a healthy scratch.

Needless to say, he enjoyed Friday's thrilling 5-4 comeback win over the Nashville Predators immensely. (Read my game story as filed for The Canadian Press)

"It feels great. We've been on the other end of this so many times. To come back twice from two goals down, it means a lot for our team," said Jones, who was acquired from Colorado on June 27 along with Shane O'Brien in a trade that sent Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to the Avalanche.

A Long, Long Time Coming

Interestingly, the last time Jones scored a goal in a game his team won came against the Flames and was also a game in which his team dramatically rallied from behind. It was Feb. 28 last season and he scored Colorado's second goal as they overcame a 3-0 first period deficit to eventually win 5-4. If that date rings a bell, that was the day of the infamous Jay Feaster-Ryan O'Reilly offer sheet fiasco.

Through the past two months, Jones says he's tried to stay positive.

"It's peaks and valleys, every player goes through it. You just need to keep shooting the puck and odds are they're eventually going to start going in," Jones said. "You can't get too frustrated about it but obviously, I needed to get one in there and hopefully things start flowing a little bit."

At the time of the trade, the native of Guelph, Ontario, looked like a shrewd buy-low acquisition by Feaster. Sure, Jones was coming off a rotten lockout-shortened season in which he scored just three times in 33 games, but the three years prior to that -- 57 goals in 172 games. That works out to27 goals per 82 games. 

So you know the potential is there, it's just taken a while for him to show it and while Friday night is a start -- or make that a re-start, the challenge for Jones is getting back on the score sheet a few more times in the weeks ahead and showing that he can be the player Calgary thought it was getting.

Offence Wanted

The Flames could certainly use the offence considering the team's leading scorer is 19-year-old rookie Sean Monahan with 14 goals. The lowest goal total to ever lead the Flames was 27 by Cory Stillman and Theoren Fleury in 1997-98

Calgary coach Bob Hartley certainly liked what he saw from his 6-foot-2, 210 pound right-winger on Friday.

"David Jones, right now, is a power forward for us," Hartley said after Friday's win. "We saw him in a couple of battles with Shea Weber. Driving the net, shooting the puck, a great net presence."

That was reflected in his two goals. Was right there in the slot to snap home Matt Stajan's drop pass. On the tying goal, he was providing the screen in front when TJ Brodie's blast from the point deflected off him and past Devan Dubnyk.

On the books for a cool $4-million per season for two more seasons beyond the current one, he's not a player that's going to be going anywhere any time soon and with personal ties to Calgary and a previously expressed desire to be part of the Flames organization, the personable Jones could be that all-important veteran presence that will be needed through the rebuild.

The key is avoiding another one of these killer slumps so the rebuild -- a challenging enough undertaking in itself, doesn't also need to apply to Jones and the confidence in his game. 

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