Russian rookie Nail Yakupov scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season and Devan Dubnyk had yet another clutch performance with 37 saves but the Oilers were bested 3-1 by the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon. Edmonton scored in the opening minute, but the Avs got goals from P.A. Parenteau, Jamie McGinn and Paul Stastny (empty-netter) en route to the victory. The Oilers dropped to 4-3-0-1 on the season with the loss.
Take a closer look at the game as we go Under The Scope:
THE TURNING POINT
The Oilers still had the game momentum in their favour with a 1-0 lead and a big 5-on-3 penalty kill when P.A. Parenteau got the Avs on the board just seconds after Anton Lander's penalty expired with 7:53 to go in the middle frame. Colorado scored again three and a half minutes later and didn't look back.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Nail Yakupov's first period goal was of the highlight-reel variety thanks to an outstanding set-up effort by Ales Hemsky. The winger took a slick neutral zone pass from Sam Gagner, burst down the right wing, cut to the net and found Yakupov for the point-blank one-timer just 58 seconds into the opening frame.
Avalanche centre Matt Duchene logged a game-high 25:07 worth of playing time, including significant power-play and penalty-kill efforts, in addition to chipping in with a pair of assists and a +2 rating. Duchene now leads Colorado with nine points.
THE UNSUNG HERO
The Oilers got yet another sterling performance from Devan Dubnyk, even though the netminder was dealt the loss on Saturday. Dubnyk made two of his best stops during a 5-on-3 Avs power play in the middle frame. He now has a 2.53 GAA and .925 save percentage on the season.
STAT OF THE DAY
Eric Belanger had three blocked shots in the first two periods that forced him to the Oilers locker room with a pair of injuries (first his lower leg and then his arm), but the veteran centre persevered and finished the game.
THEY SAID IT
"We had a good start but let them take it to us in the second and third periods." - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
With their three-game road trip now complete, the Oilers return home for a pair of contests at Rexall Place this week. The Northwest Division rival Vancouver Canucks are in town for a 7:30pm game on Monday (Sportsnet West, 630 CHED) and the Dallas Stars visit Oil Country on Wednesday for an 8pm game (TSN, 630 CHED). The Oilers beat the Canucks 3-2 in a shootout to open the season on January 20.
5 – Goals by Nail Yakupov this season to lead the Oilers. He's also in a three-way tie with Cory Conacher of Tampa Bay and Vladimir Tarasenko of St. Louis for first among rookie goal-scorers.
9 – Points earned by the Oilers out of a possible 16 through one-sixth of the condensed 48-game schedule.
34 – Average number of saves made by Devan Dubnyk in his last four starts, accounting for a .958 save percentage.
59 – Minutes Semyon Varlamov held the Oilers scoreless after allowing Nail Yakupov's tally 58 seconds into the first period.
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