DEJA VU

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.

  • Con-Air McDavid

    I think the Oil are driving teams to distraction at times. The loss of control by Doan and Morris tonight may be two cases in point. In some other games this year I’ve noticed opposition players take dumb retaliatory penalties out of apparent frustration. I love it Oil…keep it coming. Now if the GM could find a couple of truculent players up front I might just get hopeful.

  • striatic

    normally i’d chastise the coyotes for their baseless whining and sucker punches over the OT goal, but tonight must have been difficult emotionally with the low turn out at the game coupled with the non payment from the prospective owner.

    a really rough night for that team and their broadcast crew.

  • Muji

    I’m a big fan of Sam Gagner. Always have been; even when he’s slumping.
    He thinks the game at a high level, similar to Eberle and RNH. You can’t have too much of a good thing.

    Most people somehow forget that he was born in 1989 and is only 23 years old. He’s not even 1 year older than Jordan Eberle.

    Give him a break on his deficiencies because he’s still improving. Trade him and you’ll likely look very bad in a few years.

    PS: Yakupov!!!
    PS2: Derek Morris is a bitch.
    PS3: Shane Doan is a bitch.

    • Marcus

      +1. Sam is coming into his own this year. Not saying we couldn’t use a bigger C-man on this team, we definitely could use a little more size and muscle down the middle.

      With the investment that Oilers have made with Sam, I could see him successfully filling a #2C or #3C role for a decade yet.

      RNH has to step it up. He’s got some points and it is only year two, but to me he’s far more uncomfortable out there and not finding his groove as he did last year. Strange since he should be in mid-season stride right now.

      • Starving Student

        I was going to say the exact same….

        So instead I’ll talk about this time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you’d say.

      • Phixieus666

        Gags has played great and as far as size up the middle… as long as hes winning faceoffs it doesn’t matter. You can put the size on the wings. As for Nuge you have to remember this season he is player tougher competition and isn’t being sheltered as much by the coach. I think he has played good its just with guys like Hall, Eberle, and Yakupov around him that can be so explosive he gets overlooked. There is nothing wrong with his game.

        The Dubby vs Bulin debate I would have to base it all on how Dubby is feeling today and how he is looking during the warm up. If he is looking or feeling tired, or things just look off during warmups, throw Bulin in there. I honestly think that with as much experience as Bulin has, he will have no trouble just stepping after not playing for so long and playing decent. Its like an old fighter, he doesn’t need sparring he just needs to stay in shape.

    • oliveoilers

      Me too! Can’t wait for a formal occasion like a weddingor funural of a casual acquaintance to sport my new hoodie.

      Good game last night, would have loved someone to punch doan after cheap hit.Whitney did well looking yak. Hockey gods saw justice done.

  • Gagner – he has looked good this season, but it’s hard to see him fit into the long term plans of the team.

    I have liked how he has played this year, but his abilities are too similar to RNH. For the longest time, the Oilers have been too easy to play against, too small, and not physical enough.

    In order to win, it’s best to have a well balanced team. You need some size, good checkers, reliable guys to take faceoff, etc. in addition to the high end skill this team has.

    Looking at the Oilers, they’re better off if Gagner develops into a strong two way forward who can win faceoffs and be tough to play against than a 60-70 point one dimensional forward. Or if he’s not capable to do those sort of things, the Oilers are better off looking to acquire the 2C that can fill this role.

    • OilClog

      Get bent!

      Gags is a great Hockey player who has developed and grown with the organization for 5 years now.

      I wish we could trade ridiculous fans who always find fault, rather than seeing the positive contributions of Oiler draft picks.

      The grass is very seldom greener on the other side of the fence. The Oil are finally learning to be patient and develop our own drafts, but some fans always want to trade away that hard work, and financial commitment.

      Stop It!!! Gags does not need to be a foot taller , and 50 lbs heavier in order to fit into the Oilers long term plans.

      If your unhappy with his play, and the overall make up of the Oilers, become a Flames fan and GET BENT!

    • Shaun Doe

      I don’t know, from what I have seen Gagner had competed extremely hard for pucks at both ends of the ice and even seems to protect them much better than previous years. He’s deffinetly stood out for me this season for all the right reasons that is. I agree with you in that he’s never going to be that rough and tumble physical presence as his body type doesn’t quite make him a bruiser but look at the heart and hustle of a guy like Brendan Gallagher and you can see that little guys can make up for size in determination (Tyler Ennis would be another example). Just my observations so far