Oilers to start Stuart Skinner in net for must-win Game 6 vs. Canucks

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch talks to the media about his decision to put Stuart Skinner back in the net for Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks after Calvin Pickard started Game 4 and Game 5.

The Edmonton Oilers will start Stuart Skinner in net Saturday for a must-win Game 6 of their second-round playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Skinner replaces goalie Calvin Pickard, who was Edmonton’s starter for Games 4 and 5. 

The 25-year-old goalie has had a few days away to rest, reset and work on his game, Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said after morning skate. 

“We’ve seen Stu play unbelievable, really well for us, steal games, just solid,” he said. “He’s been our guy all year. So given a situation like this, that’s who we want in net.”

Vancouver leads the best-of-seven matchup 3-2 and can advance to face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final with a win on Saturday.

Skinner was in net for the first three games of the series before he was replaced in the third period of Game 3 after allowing four goals on 15 shots. 

Pickard came on in relief, making his NHL playoff debut at the age of 32, and posted a 1-1 record with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. 

Skinner watched both games from the bench as Pickard’s backup.

“It was tough just because you want to be in there,” he said. “But at the same time, I was just ecstatic for Calvin. He played incredible, the guys played really well, he got us tied at 2-2 and he got his job done.”

Skinner has a 5-3 record this post-season with a 3.22 goals-against average, a .877 save percentage and one shutout.

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The goalie said he’s been working on his mental game for a long time and this experience is simply one that will help him moving forward. 

“So being able to kind of throw that frustration down and just be the best teammate that I could possibly be,” he said. “Had a lot of fun, was able to get my work in. So really, really good for me.”

Knoblauch also announced that forward Adam Henrique will not play in Game 6. It will be the fifth game of the series that Henrique has missed while dealing with an ankle injury.

You can catch all the action on Sportsnet or Sportsnet+. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. PT.

— With files from Sportsnet Staff

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