I suspect every Oiler fan was five seconds away from losing their mind on the referees, after one of the worst officiated NHL games I’ve seen in years, but then in a span of four seconds Nail Yakupov, who was horrific at batting practice in Pittsburgh at the 2012 draft, did his best Jose Bautista and Theo Fleury impersonations and OilersNation went into hysterics.
I’m sure some fun sponge will claim Yakupov’s celebration was over the top, but in a sport, and society, that has become incredibly politically correct it was a welcome change.
In a game that should have been 6-5 instead of 2-1, due to 17 combined powerplays, the Oilers got a miraculous goal/swing from Yakupov with 4.7 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. And then Sam Gagner won it in OT, fittingly with a powerplay goal.
In case you were living under a rock tonight, here is Yakupov’s Bautista/Fleury heroics/celebration. How much fun is Yakupov having? I never had a problem when he was celebrating for the Russians and I don’t have a problem with this celebration either. In fact, I thought it was great.
I have a feeling Oiler fans are in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride this season. You’ll have great comebacks like you’ve seen in Vancouver and v. the Kings and you’ll likely also see a few stinkers like Tuesday’s debacle v. the Sharks. But the Oilers will be entertaining.
- Excellent bounce back performance by Devan Dubnyk. He got a bit of love from his goal posts early on a 5-on-3, and that seemed to give him some confidence. He got stronger as the game went on.
- Krueger made some smart decisions all night. One of his best was putting Eric Belanger on the ice in the final ten seconds. He won the draw cleanly, and that led directly to Yakupov’s goal. Belanger took a lot of heat last year, but he’s been very good so far this season. Especially on the PK and faceoffs.
- As expected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played his best game of the season. He created numerous chances, scored the tying goal that was disallowed by a putrid call and the assisted on the game winner. Solid performance.
- Justin Schultz played over 27 minutes and looked good and added two assists. He is getting better every game.
- Ales Hemsky was ripping slapshots all night. Hemsky has been flying so far this season, and if he keeps shooting like that he’ll score much more frequently than he has in the past.
- Mark Fistric did exactly what the Oilers needed. He was solid on the PK and delivered a few crushing hits. A few good debut in Oilers silks.
- I sat in the crowd and heard one of the best lines I’ve heard in a long time. It happened right after the Kings went on their first 5-on-3. "Get off your knees ref you’re blowing the game." My wife and I laughed hard at that one. Kudos to whoever said it.
- The new faceoff rule was called correctly even if you hate it.
- I’m not sure which call was worse Ladislav Smid’s first penalty or Fistric’s. Fistric barely touched Brown; I thought that was the worst of a bad bunch.
- I wonder how many fans will be jacked up for the Flames game on Saturday. The best part is that Wanye gets to write the GDB for both Oilersnation and Flamesnation…Should be gold.
- The only thing I didn’t like tonight was fans tossing stuff on the ice. I understand your frustration, but no need for that. The worst are those who try to throw a glass of draft with no lid on it. All you do is spray other fans in front of you. Of course throwing anything is just plain stupid, but a lidless beer is the dumbest.
- Taylor Hall had the puck a lot tonight, but he didn’t finish. I sense he’ll break out against Calgary like Nugent-Hopkins did tonight.