Oilers rally past winless Kings 2-1 in overtime
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Nail Yakupov slid right into the hearts of Edmonton Oilers fans Thursday night.
The top pick in last summer's NHL entry draft scored with 4.7 seconds left in the third period and Sam Gagner had the winner in overtime as Edmonton rallied for a wild 2-1 victory over the winless Los Angeles Kings.
Yakupov's exuberant celebration took him to center ice, where he dropped to his knees and slid into Edmonton's defensive zone, screaming, as the 16,839 fans at Rexall Place cheered him on.
"The fans were crazy," Yakupov said. "It was probably my greatest feeling. We showed our heart. It was the best night in the world. I've never seen anything like this."
Yakupov's celebration had Oilers coach Ralph Krueger smiling.
"He's watched a lot of soccer games," Krueger joked.
Krueger said the game brought out the best in his team.
"If we want passion and to be challenged, there was a lot of that tonight," he said. "You have to love the compete in the group. ... The persistence at the end of the game showed truly the character of this group. To finish it off in overtime was a very mature step in a very difficult situation emotionally."
Gagner came through with a power-play goal 3:01 into overtime. He snuck in from the point to score the winner after the defending Stanley Cup champions were caught with too many men on the ice.
Jeff Carter scored for the Kings (0-2-1), winless after three games for the first time since the 1985-86 season.
There were 17 power plays in the game. Edmonton went 1 for 9 and the Kings dropped to 0 for 19 this season.
"That had to be a record for the least 5-on-5 play in a hockey game. The referees were great," Kings coach Darryl Sutter deadpanned. "Both goalies were pretty awesome."
There was a crazy finish to regulation, too.
Edmonton appeared to tie it with 1:05 left in the third on a goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but after video review the officials ruled that Gagner was in the crease and the goal was not allowed. Irate fans littered the ice with debris — they thought Rob Scuderi had pushed Gagner into Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick on the play.
However, the Oilers did pull even a minute later. Yakupov was able to bat down a rebound at the side of the net for his second goal of the season, with Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk on the bench for an extra attacker.
"We just couldn't finish it," Kings forward Jarret Stoll said. "We made a couple of mistakes right at the end and they capitalized. It was a weird, weird game. It was an odd one. We can't feel sorry for ourselves.