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Curse on Yakupov holds Oilers to 2-1 loss

The Minnesota Wild grind out a 2-1 win against a predictable Oilers showing.

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports


Taylor Hall, and the energy he brings, was sorely missed as he was out with a leg injury that he sustained taking a puck during practice. The Oilers looked pretty lifeless for the first two periods.

Nail Yakupov, after giving up a costly turnover in the first period, roared back in the third period. He was throwing huge hits, his passes were delicious, his shots were oh-so-close. Whatever dark forces that have been summoned against Yakupov were in full effect as the most exciting person in the third period came up with nothing ... except a penalty on a very flaky call by the ref.

If you PVRed this game for whatever reason, just skip ahead to the third period. The first two periods will put you to sleep like cold medicine.

First period

18:00 Oilers doing a lot of dumping and chasing. Teddy Purcell records the Oilers first shot of the game with a shot from centre ice straight into Devan Dubnyk.

17:35 Charlie Coyle skates by Victor Fasth’s net and tries to jam it in the side right along the goal line. Fasth saves it. Spoiler warning: He will score using this same method later in the game.

15:18 Penalty Mikael Granlund takes a ‘closing the hand on the puck’ penalty after falling during a battle with Benoit Pouliot behind the Wild net. Powerplay for the Oilers.

14:06 First with Nail Yakupov then later with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, both are unable to enter the Wild zone. Each of them lose the puck and it is sent back to the Oilers’ zone.

13:30 With seven seconds left in the penalty, Andrew Ference goes deep, forces the play and the puck goes back to Jeff Petry who slaps it. Dubnyk with glove save. Lackluster powerplay overall.

11:15 Each team has so far recorded two shots each. Zach Parise gets a shot off close to the net. Victor Fasth gets a piece of it but he doesn’t know it trickles behind him. There’s a scramble in front of the net. Jeff Petry manhandles someone. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins clears it.

10:51 Goal Nail Yakupov circles back in front of the net from pressure, fans on a pass to Mark Fayne. Justin Fontaine pokes it back to Nino Niederreiter who puts it top corner. 1-0 Wild.
This is Nino Niederreiter’s first goal in 18 games.

10:10 Penalty Matt Cooke trips Matt Fraser right off the faceoff.

7:27 Blood Zach Parise presses Mark Fayne into the boards and at that moment the puck whips around the boards catching Parise in the mouth. He bleeds a fair bit and possibly loses a tooth. Heads off to get stitched up and later returns to the game.

Nothing at all happens for the next five minutes.

2:40 Devan Dubnyk goes for a big swing at the puck and misses, almost costing him a goal. The puck rolls in front of the net and Teddy Purcell almost gets his stick on it but Devan Dubnyk holds his stick as a Wild player is there to bat the puck away at the same time. No call.

1:26 Penalty As Rob Klinkhammer heads to the bench he sticks his knee out on Matt Cooke at centre ice. Cooke is rattled by the hit and stays down for a few seconds. Tripping penalty.

00:21 Mikko Koivu passes across the slot to Mikael Granlund for the one-timer but Victor Fasth makes a great push across the crease for a pad save.

There was so little to talk about this period that during the intermission Gene Principe, Mark Spector, and Louie DeBrusk talked about Devan Dubnyk’s equipment, how quickly they’ve been able to change the colours on his pads by actually sewing on new colours, and how they made a wrap for the mask to simply cover up the Arizona Coyotes colours underneath. Well. How about that.

Second period

Oilers start with 00:30 left on penalty kill.

19:06 Another giveaway in front of Victor Fasth. Benoit Pouliot tries to pass back to defensemen without looking at what he’s doing, puts it right on Nino Neiderreider’s stick who gets a shot.

17:50 Two-on-one, Derek Roy to Nail Yakupov vs Ryan Suter. Yakupov puts it on the pads, Dubnyk kicks it aside

16:41 Luke Gazdic is floating around like a bumper car throwing three hits in the matter of seconds. Commentator: "Gazdic has been out there forever throwing hits."

15:21 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rings one off the crossbar.

14:51 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins passes to Benoit Pouliot along the blueline. Pouliot shoots wide.

14:30 Huge hit as Mikael Granlund receives a pass at the blue line, Jeff Petry drives into Granlund with his hip right into the body. Granlund bends backwards over the boards.

9:50 Nail Yakupov loses his stick and goes straight to the bench. Derek Roy passes to Justin Schultz. Schultz fires and Devan Dubnyk stacks the pads and gets a piece of it. Schultz almost gets his own rebound right up by the crossbar but it rolls over top of the net.

2:44 Goal Oilers are set up in the Wild end. Justin Schultz passes it across to Oscar Klefbom who is pressured so he sends it into the corner. Matt Hendricks retrieves it and passes it behind the net to Boyd Gordon. Gordon goes for the wrap around, tries to backhand it into the short side corner, but it goes across the crease and goes in off Kyle Brodziak’s skate. 1-1 tie.

The Oilers definitely have an agenda to throw their weight around more. Obviously Luke Gazdic is doing his thing, but Petry, Klinkhammer, Pouliot, Yakupov, and Fraser are taking determined runs at guys.

Wild outshooting Oilers 19-11 after 40 minutes.

Third period

18:40 Devan Dubnyk leaves the net to retrieve the puck and once again watches the puck bounce away from him. Jordan Eberle is behind the net and almost reaches around to get it in. Benoit Pouliot is a second late to the party and can’t knock it in the open net before it’s cleared away.

17:40 Puck dumped in. Nate Prosser goes behind the net to move the puck along and Nail Yakupov splatters him into the boards. Prosser stays down for a bit and then heads to the ‘quiet room.’

15:22 Nail Yakupov throws another big hit into Christian Folin, and then turns around to pick up a pass from Derek Roy to get a shot on Devan Dubnyk.

13:14 Penalty Jeff Petry holding the stick, drawn by Matt Cooke

9:12 Two-on-one Nail Yakupov mails a beautiful pass to Teddy Purcell who shoots wide

8:19 Benoit Pouliot picks pocket of Wild defenseman and kicks it up to himself for a cool looking breakaway, but shoots wide

5:47 Nail Yakupov with a second brilliant feed to Justin Schultz who is right in front of the net and manages to backhand it away from the open net.

4:23 Goal Charlie Coyle picks up a bad attempted drop pass execution by Jordan Eberle. Coyle streaks past the goal line and tucks it behind himself and into the bottom corner of the net. This is the same move we saw him attempt at the beginning of the first period. 2-1 Wild.

1:33 Penalty Victor Fasth leaves net. Good pressure. Ryan Suter takes holding stick penalty against Derek Roy.

00:13 Penalty Nail Yakupov drives to the net in an attempt for the puck dribbling at Devan Dubnyk’s feet. Slides into Dubnyk. Refs call him for unsportsmanlike. Nate Prosser takes a slashing penalty for giving Yakupov a whack while he’s down on the ice.

Parting shots

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

The Oilers start with a morbidly sluggish first period.

Nail Yakupov makes a bad play in the first period and turns the puck over leading to a goal against. So he comes roaring back in the third period doing everything - hitting, shooting, making incredible set-up passes - and absolutely nothing comes of it.

What voodoo priestess has Yakupov offended to be so cursed? He had the strongest third period out of anybody and for it he gets zero points and, to top it off, is handed a penalty on a bad call. It was nice to see him get the second star of the game, even though there's nothing on the boxscore you can point at and say he did.

Throughout the game the Oilers missed a great many shots. There were opportune two-on-ones that went wide. And then Dubnyk said, "Ah the hell with it," and left the net on various occasions to cough up the puck over to the Oilers who still didn’t put it in.

Jeff Petry had another strong showing, however. Some might say a showcase performance.

I really don’t want to rag on Justin Schultz as much as other people do. He’s young, he’s really aggressive on the forecheck, he’s got a very quick shot, and he played a pretty solid game. But when you’re set up with the puck in front of an open net at a crucial moment and you backhand it away, that should be penalized with less ice time. For sure.

The Wild outshot the Oilers 29-24 in the end.
It was, well, it was an Oilers game alright.

Coming up next…

You like scary stories? This Thursday, January 29, you do not want to miss The Curse of Yakupov as the Oilers will miss an improbable amount of shots against the Buffalo Sabres. Be afraid. Be very afraid.