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Galchenyuk ready to face friend Yakupov

Thursday, 12.27.2012 / 2:35 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

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2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog
Galchenyuk ready to face friend Yakupov

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.

Lining up opposite each other will be former teammates Nail Yakupov of Russia and Alex Galchenyuk of the U.S.

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."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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