After a bad loss to the Jets on Tuesday night, the Oilers bounced back with a win on the backs of Stuart Skinner and Connor McDavid
During a weak showing against the Jets on Tuesday, Mikko Koskinen was pulled for rookie Stuart Skinner midway through the game. Skinner played well but the Oilers still lost the game 4-2. However, his performance gave him the start in net on Thursday, opposite Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck. Skinner faced a whopping 47 shots last night, including 8 in overtime, and would stop 46 of them, plus both shootout attempts he faced, leading to an Oilers victory.
It’s honestly impossible to just overstate how great Stuart Skinner was last night. All night the Jets were just hammering him with pucks and to only allow one goal is beyond impressive. With the Oilers short-handed for the first 3-plus minutes of overtime, Skinner stayed steady in his approach and turned away every opportunity the Jets had. This isn’t just last night though. Skinner has been fantastic in every opportunity he’s had this year. While he did let in a clumsy goal against Detroit, the underlying numbers show that his performance has been exceptional, as he already has a 3.1 GSAA (goals saved above average) which is good enough for 14th in the entire NHL despite only having three starts. The Oilers haven’t had “that guy” in net since Cam Talbot and have been searching for their long-term answer for years now. After what he’s done in the AHL and his performance so far in the NHL, I feel pretty good about saying that Stuart Skinner is that guy. When Mike Smith returns from his injury, the Oilers are going to have to remove one of their goalies from their roster, and whether that means trading one of their vets or getting rid of them in some other way, Stuart Skinner needs to stay.
Connor McDavid did it again. The captain once again simply decided that he was better than everyone else and proceeded to make the Jets defenders look silly as he scored his second goal of the year candidate in the last two weeks to tie the game up late in the third. He added on to that with a beauty in the shootout, and on a night where Stuart Skinner kept the Oilers alive by stopping almost everything that came his way, the best player on the planet once again got the Oilers the W in front of an electrified Rogers Place.
Not too much else to say about this one. Stuart Skinner and Connor McDavid showed up to win on a night where most of the other Oilers looked half asleep, and they were able to come out of it with two points thanks to them. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest win but hey, we’ll take what we can get. Onto Chicago to hopefully beat up on those clowns this Saturday.