Nail Yakupov didn't play a whole lot tonight but when he did, he made it count.
The Russian winger had a goal, an assist and 12 penalty minutes in a limited 6:29 of icetime. Through the first two periods, Yakupov only played a shade over three minutes.
“Out of all the games Yak’s played this year, I was most proud of him tonight. I was so proud of the way he handled himself. That whole fourth line, the way they handled themselves," stated Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. Tonight was a night where I was going hard on the match-up. I wanted certain lines against certain lines and I wasn’t going to come off it. Winnipeg wasn’t hardly playing their fourth line at all, so our guys ended up suffering because of that."
Yakupov netted an assist on the crucial fourth goal, scored by Jeff Petry. The winger made a nice play to get the puck over to the pinching blueliner.
"When they went out there, they came off the bench well and Yak got an assist. Then when we got up a little bit more I tried to reward them because that whole line, they were working their butts off."
Yakupov scored the sixth goal and shortly afterwards tempers erupted on both sides.
"And then to see him make a stand at the end there. I was excited for him. The kid plays limited minutes tonight because of a match-up situation and it’s a goal, assist and almost the start of a donnybrook. I was proud of the way he handled himself and the way that he played."
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