There will be an interesting game within the game Friday when the United States faces Russia (9 a.m. ET, NHLN-US) in preliminary-round play at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
They played together from 2010-12 with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. In 2010-11, Yakupov was third in the league in goals with 49 and led all first-year OHL players with 101 points, while Galchenyuk was second with 83 points.
A knee injury kept Galchenyuk sidelined for all but two regular-season and six playoff games, while Yakupov had 31 goals and 69 points in just 42 games. At the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov was taken No. 1 by the Edmonton Oilers, while Galchenyuk went No. 3 to the Montreal Canadiens.
Galchenyuk said the two remain close friends, but told NHL.com he wasn't putting any extra emphasis on playing against Yakupov.
"I'm definitely excited," Galchenyuk said. "He's a great player and a good buddy of mine. I don't think about that [playing against him]. We're looking forward to playing a good game and hope the team wins."
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