GLENDALE, Ariz. – Nail Yakupov followed the puck after it hit teammate Taylor Hall and swiped it into the goal a split second before it hit the ice.
After blowing the shutout with 19 seconds left in regulation, another big goal from the Russian rookie was just what the Edmonton Oilers needed.
Yakupov scored his fourth goal of the season on a power play at 3:52 of overtime, helping the Oilers fight back after giving up the late goal to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 on Wednesday night.
“Dealing with that late goal and to be able to get the two points showed a lot of character,” Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. “It was another real big growth opportunity for our team tonight.”
Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk appeared to be on his way to his fifth career shutout after stopping the first 26 shots he faced. The Oilers put their goalie in a bind, though, when Sam Gagner was called for a penalty and the Coyotes pulled goalie Chad Johnson.
Nick Johnson took advantage of the two-man advantage, whipping a shot past Dubnyk’s glove side with 19 seconds left in regulation after teammate Radim Vrbata failed on a backhander.
Yakupov, already establishing himself as a clutch goal-scorer, ended it in overtime, punching in a rebound after a shot by Ryan Whitney appeared to carom off Hall’s hand.
Instead of racing away from his teammates and sliding down the ice, as he did after scoring late against the Kings last week, the No. 1 pick in last summer’s NHL draft called the Oilers in for a group hug to celebrate.
“I think guys were expecting him to skate away,” Gagner said. “It’s another big goal for Nail and he seems to have a knack for scoring those.”
Dubnyk stopped 27 shots and Lennart Petrell scored his first goal since Feb. 27, helping the Oilers end a five-game losing streak to Phoenix.
Coming off their best game of the season, the Coyotes found themselves in a familiar position: Wondering what will happen after the latest chapter in their ownership saga.
Since a new lease agreement with the City of Glendale was reworked in November, it appeared former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison would have no trouble buying the team from the NHL before a Jan. 31 deadline. Jamison told the Arizona Republic this week that he expected to have the deal done in time.
But on Wednesday, a league official told The Associated Press it was unlikely Jamison would have the money or investors he needs to purchase the team before the midnight Thursday deadline, leaving the team in limbo yet again.
Of course, the Coyotes have played well against the backdrop of uncertainty in the past, reaching the playoffs each of the past three seasons—making the Western Conference finals for the first time last year—while potential owners come and go.
“It’s status quo for us,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “I don’t think this is a surprise to anybody around here, so we deal with it like we’ve dealt with it for 3 1/2 years.”
Phoenix got back to its defence-first style in a 4-0 win over Nashville on Monday night, and limited Edmonton’s chances in front of Johnson.
Johnson did give up a big rebound on a shot by Ryan Smyth in the first period and Petrell jumped on it, punching in the puck from just outside the crease. Johnson was steady after that, finishing with 19 saves after notching his first NHL shutout two days earlier.
“Johnson played well again,” Tippett said. “It’s unfortunate not to get two points out of that because I think we deserved two points.”
Dubnyk was sharp his last outing, turning away 38 shots—24 in the third period—in a 4-1 win over Colorado on Monday. He was just as good against the Coyotes, finding pucks easily through traffic and making a couple of snatching glove saves on hard shots by Phoenix.
Dubnyk appeared to be headed toward his first shutout in nearly a year, but Johnson scored his second goal of the season to send the game to overtime.
“It’s unfortunate he didn’t get the shutout because he played so well,” Gagner said.
The Oilers at least got the win, thanks to Yakupov’s quick hands.
NOTES: Gagner had an assist on Petrell’s goal, extending his points streak to six games. … Oilers LW Ben Eager missed his fifth straight game with a concussion. … Coyotes G Mike Smith is expected to come off injured reserved from a lower-body injury and could possibly start on Friday.