YAK CITY

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.

GAME THOUGHTS

  • 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.
  • Pharmboy

    EPIC NAIL! Just an epic goal and celebration. This kid cares. Epic fail for the refs. I haven’t stood on my couch and yelled at the screen in a long time. ALL HAIL NAIL!

  • Hemmertime

    The kids celebration was awesome, he was completely in the moment. I’m sure plenty of fans were going insane all over the city.

    Yak has one of those “career highlight” clips only 3 games into his career. Sponsors are gonna love him lol

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Jason gregor just so you know throwing debris on the ice was ABSOLUTELY the thing to do. I loved every second of it. Those clowns that wore referee outfits tonight were an embarrassment to the sport of hockey and the NHL and the only thing we did wrong is not hit them with the debris. But trust me, most of us tried. Other than that huge win and i love the heart yak has. and have nothing wrong with his celebration. For everyone giving him a hard time. He’s 18 years old from a different country playing in front of over 16 000 fans that are screaming as loud as they can and he scores a clutch goal like that and shows how much emotion he brings to the game he loves. I respect that. But i don’t respect those over paid zebras.

    • French Toast Mafia

      Throwing stuff on the ice is a joke. It’s a bad call, everyone knows it, get over it. Fans look like a bunch of bums when they do stuff like that.

      Covering all the timekeepers and people sitting infront of you with beer really taught those refs a lesson hey.

    • RyanCoke

      Gregor’s right, throwing things on the ice does nothing, and the Oilers should have got a penalty for stupid fans like Robbie. I love the Oil as much as any person in Alberta, but its hard to defend low brow thinking like this. Thinking that throwing pop bottles and beer onto the ice is going to do anything is like equivalent to the small group of numbnuts that started the riots in Vancouver. Its selfish

  • Jamie B.

    Hall deserves HUGE credit for stopping Mike Richards from getting the empty netter, and for jumping on the puck when it was blocked and throwing it on net to create the rebound Yak batted in. Nice attention to details, good sign.

  • I'm Batman

    You know, I agree that throwing things is stupid, and I the trowing of beer cups is beyond belligerent, however, that break it caused by the clean up gave Kruger and the Oilers a 2nd timeout. It was stupid but at least, in this instance anyway, it was incredibly beneficial.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Who cares what they think? He scored a huge goal, he didn’t cave when the refs clearly decided to try and be Gods. The puck doesn’t lie, idiot refs.

  • The Soup Fascist

    There sure seems to be a lot of media types wanting to take a giant dump on Yakupov. The kid is 18 and I think some excitement in E-town would be a nice change after 7 yrs living in the gulag of pro hockey.

    I do hope Yak uses some judgement when he scores but every Oiler recognized the energy he brings and there has been precious little to celebrate in this city for far too long.

    Rishaug needs take the pole out of his *ss and quit taking himself so seriously. There would be no harm in making the odd positive comment every once in awhile.

    • Spydyr

      I agree let the lid go and keep the energy alive. Our look at “Did we pick the right guy” is looking like a big YES. I like what I have seen so far with his speed and hockey sense and no fear of shooting the puck. Did anyone see how excited the older oilers were pumped up? I did and loved it as well.

    • Cheap Shot Charlie

      I fully agree. Yak needed to celebrate like that in this instance and the fans needed to see it. It was the biggest goal of his NHL career, so far. He’ll settle it down as he scores more.

      P.s. FU refs!

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Mr Fistric,
    Good game tonight.
    Welcome (home) to a hockey mad city.

    Your next mission, should you chose to accept it, is the (godless) Flames.

    Stand up #12 a few times and the minstrels will compose a sonet.

    Put him on his ass…and be a ROCK STAR.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Jared Stoll on Sportscenter indicated that the King’s dressing room did not appreciate Yak’s celly.

    Tell you what Jared, the Great One probably isn’t too keen you couldn’t keep your grub mitts off of his daughter either – allegedly.

    Word of warning to both of you: it will probably happen again. Learn to live with the disappointment.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Any chance we’ll hear what Jonathan Quick said to Yakupov after he sent the puck into the goal a second after the whistle went earlier in this game?

    It was great to see Yakupov shove it down his throat with 5 seconds left. Would have been even better to see Nail get the OT winner and rub some salt and vinegar into that wound.

    Screw you, Jonathan not Quick enough!

    • MarcusBillius

      Yeah, it didn’t seem like he had great luck around the net tonight, despite creating tremendous chances and having a few himself.

      But as I look back at the last two years, he’s never really had the Stamkos/Crosby/Malkin ability to finish plays.

      • French Toast Mafia

        Might be good to remember that Crosby didn’t develop super elite finishing skills until his 5th year in the league. I remember a few interviews and acticles where he had said that he needed to shoot more and work on burying his chances when they were there. That year he scored 50 and changed the curve on his stick. I think we will see something similar with Hall, more will end up in the back of the net.

  • MarcusBillius

    Every team so far has had a really bad game.

    I’m being over-generous here because the hockey gods were on the Oilers side, but maybe we can let the refs have a bad game.

    And also contact the NHL and make sure those calls are never made again.

  • OilersRidersChargers

    What a way to rescue all of our sanity. Notice Ebs was on the other side of the net, with Hall in the slot – murderer’s row of snipers – but Yak got the lucky bounce and made it happen. Yak goal – Eberle timing!

  • Jamie B.

    Oilers are lucky they didn’t get a penalty because of some stupid fans. Yell and boo as loud as you want but don’t throw stuff. Penalty probably would have lost us the game.