DEJA VU

Jason Gregor
January 31 2013 12:01AM

For the second time in six games Nail Yakupov came through with a huge goal for the Edmonton Oilers. Last Thursday he tied the game with 4.7 seconds remaining, and tonight he potted the winner from almost the identical spot on the ice and once again he batted the puck out of mid-air.

The kid loves the pressure, and now the Oilers have won two consecutive games for the first time this season.

Yakupov, like most of the Oilers, was average during regulation. The Oilers were fighting the puck all night. Many of them had troubles receiving and giving passes, but they battled through and won.

They won mainly due to Devan Dubnyk's excellent play for the second straight game.

Dubnyk controlled his rebounds, was sound positionally and he seems to be gaining more confidence every game. I don't see Krueger resting him tomorrow in San Jose, and if he plays well there, the Oilers could play him Saturday afternoon in Colorado as well.

QUICK HITS

  • Ryan Smyth played his best game of the season. He was strong on the boards and was instrumental in Lennart Petrell's first goal of the season.
     
  • Petrell was the best skater on the ice for the Oilers. He scored, created some other chances and had some key blocked shots. The Oilers will need him to use his size and continue to go to the net. Solid game.
     
  • Even though they've won two straight, I suspect Krueger might play Mark Fistric against a big San Jose team on Thursday. Corey Potter struggled, and if Krueger was being honest when he said he didn't want guys sitting too long, then it makes a lot of sense to play him tomorrow.
     
  • The Oilers can't afford to lose Shawn Horcoff. Shane Doan hit him in the back late in the game and Horcoff was clearly shaken up on the play. He didn't take another shift, and if he can't play the Oilers likely have to airlift Anton Lander or Chris Vande Velde in from OKC.
     
  • The Doan hit was a cheap shot, but let's not get crazy and start screaming for a suspension. Should have been a penalty, but that's it.
     
  • Sam Gagner had another good game. He looks quicker and stronger than last year. I'm sure the Gagner debates will heat up soon.
     
  • I liked Yakupov's celebration. He stood there and waved his teammates over, and when Hall came close his face lit up. The kid loves scoring, and his teammates love his ability to come through at key times. They will likely juice him about his celebration, but that's what teammates do, but make no mistake teammates love having guys who can step up when the game is on the line.
     
  • The Oilers still had too many giveaways in the neutral zone. They will have to be better tomorrow v. the undefeated Sharks if they hope to stretch their win streak to three games.
     
  • It was a rare off-night for Jordan Eberle in the puck-handling and passing department. It is rare to see him fight  pucks like he did tonight. The puck was bouncing all over, and the ice didn't look great, but rarely do you see him miss short passes or over handle the puck. I suspect he'll be much better in San Jose.
     
  • On the first day of training camp I asked Taylor Hall what he worked on the most in the AHL. He said he worked hard at improving his passing. In seven games he has seven assists and one goal. He's not suddenly Adam Oates, but he seems much more comfortable passing.
     
  • Dubnyk has a .944 SV% and 1.8 GAA in the five games outside of the first period v. the Sharks. Add in the 20 minute 1st period v. SJ he drops to .916SV% and 2.74 GAA. He's been very good for 15 of the 16 periods he's played.
     
  • The Coyotes and their fans were complaining that Yakupov's goal shouldn't have counted because it was a hand pass from Ryan Whitney. The replay shows the puck hit Whitney's glove, but he never made any motion or attempt to pass it. Here are two different rules from the NHL rule book. After reading them, it looks like the ref made the correct call.

Rule 67 - Handling Puck

67.1 Handling Puck - A player shall be permitted to stop or “bat” a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the Referee, he has deliberately directed the puck to a teammate in any zone other than the defending zone, in which case the play shall be stopped and  a face-off conducted (see Rule 79 – Hand Pass). Play will not be stopped for any hand pass by players in their own defending zone.

Rule 79 - Hand Pass

79.1 Hand Pass - A player shall be permitted to stop or “bat” a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the Referee, he has directed the puck to a teammate.

A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for “closing his hand on the puck” under Rule 67 – Handling Puck.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Rogue
January 31 2013, 10:38AM
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Doan has always played on the edge and then pleaded innocent. It is no surprise to me.

This team STILL needs a physical prescence on the first 2 lines. Whether it is a center or a winger does not bother me. 2 big centers would help the 3rd and fourth lines, too. And while you are at it, another banger and crasher on D wouldnt hurt either.

I know it is an unreasonable wish list. Drafting probably would not help this team for at least 3 years. Only way help arrives is Free Agency and trades.

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#52 Old Retired Guy
January 31 2013, 11:01AM
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Lets stay focused boys.

At the beginning of the year we were all hoping

1) Dubnyk would play better / make significant progress

2) Gags would play better / make significant progress

3) Justin Schultz could come close to reproducing his AHL performance at the NHL level

4) Hemsky would have a bounce back year

5) YAK would contribute on offense and contend for the Calder

6) Petry and Smid would not fall off from last years progression

7) Krueger would be an improvement over Renney and give the kids big minutes in critical situations

8) The Team would get a little tougher...ala Hartikainen and Fistric

9) Guys like Belanger and others would improve at least slightly

10) Injuries would not be our downfall

Looks to me like we're 10 for 10 so far. It's early but things seem to be progressing according to plan.

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#53 A-Mc
January 31 2013, 11:03AM
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@Old Retired Guy

10 for 10 indeed. Thanks for keeping the focus!

Reiterating the sentiment of a caller on the Strudwick post-game show last night: Lets stop complaining and just enjoy the team progress. Enjoy the win(s) and look forward to the next one!

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#54 Rob...
January 31 2013, 11:11AM
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Congrats to Coyotes fans. Reading Puck Daddy's post on the win last night I now have them placed at the top of my worst fans in the league list... move over Canucks & Leafs fans.

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#55 Old Retired Guy
January 31 2013, 11:22AM
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Used to like the idea of at least considering trade options for Gagner....Have changed my mind on that.....he looks stronger physically and in other ways....playmaking...getting to the front of the net..etc.

I see no rush to force a deal....but I'm sure Tambellini has several lines in the water at all times...For me our trade bait currently includes the likes of Whitney, Peckham, Tuebert, Belanger, Eagre, Lander, Habby, Jones, Reider. And maybe a second round pick in 2013.

Given that we won't get everything we need with that list to work from, perhaps we should focus our draft attention on players who seem the most NHL ready in the first round?

Already excited about the trade deadline and 2013 entry draft.

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#56 bdiddy18
January 31 2013, 11:27AM
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As Doan gets older and slower - the goon will emerge. More penalties and bulldozing players for no reason.

IF Doan ever resembles Hordichuck, for your own good Doan retire.

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#57 Old Retired Guy
January 31 2013, 11:27AM
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Used to like the idea of at least considering trade options for Gagner....Have changed my mind on that.....he looks stronger physically and in other ways....playmaking...getting to the front of the net..etc.

I see no rush to force a deal....but I'm sure Tambellini has several lines in the water at all times...For me our trade bait currently includes the likes of Whitney, Peckham, Tuebert, Belanger, Eagre, Lander, Habby, Jones, Reider. And maybe a second round pick in 2013.

Given that we won't get everything we need with that list to work from, perhaps we should focus our draft attention on players who seem the most NHL ready in the first round?

Already excited about the trade deadline and 2013 entry draft.

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#58 bdiddy18
January 31 2013, 12:12PM
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Old Retired Guy wrote:

Used to like the idea of at least considering trade options for Gagner....Have changed my mind on that.....he looks stronger physically and in other ways....playmaking...getting to the front of the net..etc.

I see no rush to force a deal....but I'm sure Tambellini has several lines in the water at all times...For me our trade bait currently includes the likes of Whitney, Peckham, Tuebert, Belanger, Eagre, Lander, Habby, Jones, Reider. And maybe a second round pick in 2013.

Given that we won't get everything we need with that list to work from, perhaps we should focus our draft attention on players who seem the most NHL ready in the first round?

Already excited about the trade deadline and 2013 entry draft.

Only problem is the list that other teams want from the Oilers includes

Hall Eberle Gagner Yakopov Hemsky Shultz Petry Dubnyk

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#59 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 12:22PM
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~I completely agree that we should trade Ganger for a bigger C who gets less points ... but ... is ... bigger. This new center will not surpass Ganger in any measurable category except height/weight ... and... it ... will ... be ... *breathes through mouth* ... better.~

*drools and twitches eye*

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#60 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 12:25PM
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On a side note, the Horc haters might get a chance tonight to see how their team performs without a real shutdown vet C. Oh wait, they already did the LAST time they played SJS. Krueger didn't seem to match lines last time. I wonder what he's going to do tonight.

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#61 Petridis
January 31 2013, 01:09PM
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Old Retired Guy wrote:

Lets stay focused boys.

At the beginning of the year we were all hoping

1) Dubnyk would play better / make significant progress

2) Gags would play better / make significant progress

3) Justin Schultz could come close to reproducing his AHL performance at the NHL level

4) Hemsky would have a bounce back year

5) YAK would contribute on offense and contend for the Calder

6) Petry and Smid would not fall off from last years progression

7) Krueger would be an improvement over Renney and give the kids big minutes in critical situations

8) The Team would get a little tougher...ala Hartikainen and Fistric

9) Guys like Belanger and others would improve at least slightly

10) Injuries would not be our downfall

Looks to me like we're 10 for 10 so far. It's early but things seem to be progressing according to plan.

You are so right !!! A little positive doesn't hurt anyone !!! Great write !!!

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