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Calvin Pickard and Stuart Skinner
Photo credit: OilersNation

Oilers coach makes bold starting goaltender decision for Game 4

Published May 14, 2024 at 8:54
BY LIAM
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Through the first three games of the Oilers and Canucks series, the Oilers should've had the goalie matchup advantage between Stuart Skinner and Arturs Silovs. Instead, Skinner has let the team down with extremely poor play, and know the Oilers are turning to backup Calvin Pickard.

According to NHL insider Frank Seravalli, Oilers coach Knoblauch is going to start Pickard over Skinner today, despite it not being officially announced yet. It will be Pickard's first ever full playoff game.


Stuart Skinner emerged as a quality starting goaltender in his sophomore season this year, but has consistently struggled in the playoffs. After being pulled after the second period in game 3, Skinner's save percentage dropped to an unacceptable .877% - making him statistically the worst playoff goalie of the last 20 years.


At practice yesterday, Skinner seemed reflective and emotional describing his postseason failures. He apologized to the media for being unavailable to speak after the game, and explained that the emotions of the moment impaired his ability to play his best game.


With Skinner outwardly admitting that the lights are too bright for him in the playoffs, it nearly forced Knoblauch to turn to Pickard in game 4. It's incredibly disappointing that Skinner seems to have lost his game in the postseason once again - it may make the Oilers look for an established starting goalie in this offseason.

For now, the Oilers season rides on the goaltending of Calvin Pickard. He was a much needed steady backup goaltender this season for the Oilers, posting a solid .909 save percentage in 23 games. At the end of the night, he just needs to outduel the Canucks rookie goalie at the other end of the ice - something that shouldn't be as difficult as it's become.
POLL
May 14   |   335 answers
Oilers coach makes bold starting goaltender decision for Game 4

Do you think it's the right decision from coach Knoblauch to start Pickard in game 4?

Yes, starting Pickard is the right choice28183.9 %
No, roll with Skinner319.3 %
Give me Jack Campbell236.9 %
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