20-year-old sophomore winger Nail Yakupov is in a bit of a scoring rut. He has not registered a point in his last six games. This after his streak of scoring a point in four straight and five of six, from November 10-21.
In order to get his highly-skilled forward back on the stat sheet, Head Coach Dallas Eakins has placed Yakupov on a line with Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner, hoping that it can ignite the youngster.
But before the decision was made to put those three together, Eakins did some research.
"You go through as a staff and as a coach and you do your homework on the players. I've watched a lot of Yak play last year. I've watched every one of the goals that he scored. I've watched where they've come from, I've watched who he was on the ice with and I continue to try to find him a spot for him to score, because I think that if he scores, it's going to help his whole game. That being said, what we're asking is for him to take a firm belief in the notion that saving a goal and keeping a goal out of our net has the same result on the scoreboard. That's the challenge. We continue on.
"I think Yak's got four power play goals and we're still looking for some chemistry with him… Taylor has the ability to not only wake up his line mates, but wake up the whole team. After going back and reviewing Yak's last bunch of games again, then I decided let's trying him with Hallsy and Sam and see if that ignites something."
Yakupov has four goals and five assists in 28 games this season.