There have been many goals scored throughout the NHL’s rich history that will live on forever in legend and lore. Goals that immortalized the players and teams that scored them and trigger goosebumps on anyone who happens to witness them. Goals like Bobby Orr flying through the air, any of Wayne Gretzky’s many milestone goals, or any of the numerous Stanley Cup-clinching overtime winners.
Last night in Edmonton, Nail Yakupov took his place in these hallowed grounds reserved for the most incredible moments in NHL history.
Or at least he acted like it.
I’m guessing no one on the Edmonton bench or anyone else in the building reminded Yakupov that his goal wasn’t even the game-winner, because there was no chance that the young forward had anything left in the tank after channeling his inner-Theo Fleury and celebrated like a complete buffoon across the ice at Rexall Place after tying last night’s game in the dying seconds.
Nail’s English advisor might need to spend some more time with the Russian as he apparently needs more practice on memorizing his months of the year, as he must have looked at the calender before the game and thought it was early June, because normally celebrations like we saw on Thursday are reserved for game sevens of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Now obviously I am ignoring the elephant in the room and criticizing someone on the winning team instead of acknowledging the fact the Los Angeles Kings squandered another third period lead en route to losing their third game in a row, leaving them still searching for their first win.
As is all too familiar with Kings fans, Los Angeles’ anemic offense turned a brilliant game by Jonathan Quick, who was five seconds short of logging a shutout and finished with 37 saves, into a 2-1 overtime loss to the Oilers.
While the Kings played better in stretches on Thursday as they did in the two previous games, their special teams play proved to be their downfall and one of the main reason they left Edmonton with only one point rather than the two they were hoping for. The power play was non-existent, going a miserable 0 for 9 on the night and falling to an embarrassing 0 for 19 so far on the season. Costly penalties at inopportune times gave the Oilers enough chances to finally put the puck in the net for the Oil, culminating with Sam Gagner’s power play goal while Jeff Carter was serving a too-many-men call 3:01 into overtime.
The Kings need to quickly develop short-term amnesia and forget about this game and focus on getting into the win-column, with their next chance coming up Saturday night in Phoenix as the Coyotes get their first crack at revenge for getting bounced in the Conference Finals not-so long ago. And don’t expect any teams to show any sympathy for Los Angeles’ recent struggles, as long as the Kings can be considered the defending champs, they will continue to have a target on their backs and receive the “A” game from all their opponents– something I am not sure they have properly adjusted to yet.
Regardless, time is running out for the Kings to start accumulating points in the standings before they fall behind the pack in an ultra-competative Western Conference.
P.S.- Despite his circus antics, I hold no grudge toward Nail Yakupov. I’m sure he just had a momentary emotional lapse and is nothing but humble and eloquent off the ice, carrying himself with maturity and showing the utmost respect toward his opponents like he has in the past.
Well at least I was right about the eloquent part…