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Nail Yakupov using defence to gain more offence

Nail Yakupov has had some success on the top line for the past couple of games. (Ian Kucerak, QMI...

Nail Yakupov has had some success on the top line for the past couple of games. (Ian Kucerak, QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:15 PM ET

Nail Yakupov seems to be getting it.

The Edmonton Oilers winger is realizing the key to a good offensive game is to spend as little time in the defensive zone as possible.

Playing with two of the team’s best players doesn’t hurt either.

“I think the improvements are slow and steady,” said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. “I think he fully understands where he needs to go with his game to be a real complete player, a player that we can trust across the whole ice. He’s taken that to heart.

“We have to realize this is a guy that is of very little experience. We’ve been patient with him, he’s buying in. But the thing that I see lately, is maybe a little bit more fire in his game.”

Yakupov is aware of the opportunity presented to him, skating on a line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The Oilers winger had a strong outing against the New York Rangers on Thursdsay, scoring the game winner, then looked good Friday night against the New Jersey De


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