Oilers coach Knoblauch answering media questions
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Oilers coach Knoblauch makes a risky decision with team win streak on the line

Published January 25, 2024 at 11:16
Tonight, the Edmonton Oilers will have a prime opportunity to extend their winning streak to 15 games, and move closer to the all-time record win streak of 17 games. The Oilers should have an easy win against the league-worst Blackhawks, but Knoblauch is rolling the dice with a few decisions that won't have the Oilers at 100% strength tonight.

According to Tony Brar, Calvin Pickard was in the starters crease at the morning practice for the Oilers today. It's obviously a customary decision to have the backup play against a rebuilding team like Chicago, but now the Oilers will have to rely on their backup goalie to keep the incredible win streak alive.

Not only that, but the lines have been out in the blender by Knoblauch. Draisaitl has been moved up to McDavid's wing, and Kane and Nuge are asked to man the second line. Perhaps, this could be an option Knoblauch wants to deploy in the playoffs, and playing the Blackhawks is an opportunity to practice.

That said, the Oilers have been playing fantastic defensive hockey on this stretch, and Pickard has proved to be a more than capable backup goalie. In his last five starts, he's put up a respectable .906 save percentage.

As long as the Oilers play to their full capabilities tonight, they should be able to handle the Blackhawks even without Skinner. However, these two teams played a close game that resulted in a 2-1 Oilers win not long ago where Skinner was integral to the win. Hopefully, Knoblauch's made the right call to get Skinner some rest and allow Pickard a chance at the Hawks, and the Oilers win streak can move closer to the all time record.
January 25   |   486 answers
Oilers coach Knoblauch makes a risky decision with team win streak on the line

Who should have started this game?

Skinner, we're close to the record win streak12525.7 %
Pickard, he's the backup vs the worst team31264.2 %
See Results4910.1 %
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