Yakupov scores shotoout winner as Oilers get past Panthers
Nail Yakupov wasn’t expecting his first career shootout attempt, but he made it a successful one.
Yakupov scored the winning goal in the shootout to lift the Edmonton Oilers over the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday night.
Yakupov’s shot got past Roberto Luongo in the first round, and Edmonton’s Viktor Fasth was perfect in the shootout.
"I don’t know why, but Coach gave me my first shootout (chance) and I nailed it. It feels pretty good," Yakupov said.
Yakupov was sitting on the bench when, to his surprise, he got a tap on the back from Coach Todd Nelson.
"I’m like, `Where??Shootout??I’m going first?’?He (says), `Yes," Yakupov said. "So I jumped and went in there and scored."
Nelson knew that Yakupov had no shootout experience.
"Yeah, I did, so I?had nothing to lose," Nelson said. "It was a situation where I said, `Why not?’"
Matt Hendricks and Jordan Eberle scored in regulation for Edmonton. Fasth made 35 saves for his third win this season.
The Oilers won for the first time in four games and snapped a franchise record 14-game, road-losing streak. The Oilers, who have three road wins this season, earned their first since Nov. 9 at the New York Rangers.
"It felt good," Fasth said. "All the guys, they worked really hard today and it felt good to get this win here on the road."
Jonathan Huberdeau and Erik Gudbranson scored for Florida, and Luongo stopped 32 shots. He has lost three straight starts for the first time since the opening three games of the season.
"It’s a big game for us. It’s not a matter of taking the point and moving on," Luongo said. "We needed to bounce back and we didn’t come up with the win."
Edmonton has won six straight at Florida since March 8, 2002. Five of the games have gone past regulation.
The Panthers are a bit deflated after losing two in a row at home coming off a 4-2 road trip and took little comfort in getting a point.
"We had a real bad game tonight. We got outworked in every aspect of the game," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We know (Edmonton is) a good team. They play hard. Their record doesn’t indicate their team. They’re fast and they forced us all night long and they had a lot of odd-man rushes against us."
The Oilers forged a 2-2 tie on Hendrick’s short-handed goal in the third. Hendrick’s shot from the slot got past Luongo at 6:32. The Oilers have scored a short-handed goal in back-to-back games.
Huberdeau broke a 1-1 tie with his goal at 14:29 of the second. Aleksander Barkov’s shot from the slot hit the post, and Huberdeau poked in the rebound. Huberdeau has four goals and four assists over the past six games.
The Oilers took a 1-0 lead on Eberle’s goal in the second. The Panthers were caught in a line change, and Eberle skated in on Luongo unchallenged. His wrist shot got past Luongo’s glove and high into the net at 3:35 for his team-leading 12th goal.
The Panthers tied it 1-1 about two minutes later on Gudbranson’s goal. His slap shot from above the right circle beat Fasth at 5:41. Gudbranson scored for the first time since Oct. 9 at Tampa Bay, a span of 39 games.
NOTES: Luongo played in his 838th NHL game, putting him in 11th place among goalies. … Edmonton’s Boyd Gordon recorded his 100th career assist.