Mikko Koskinen has been unbeatable at home. He is a perfect 6-0, has allowed only five goals and he’s stopped 180 of 185 shots in six starts. A win tonight would tie him for the best home start in Oilers history with Bill Ranford.
Ranford won his first seven home games. Edmonton acquired Ranford, along with Geoff Courtnall and a second round pick from Boston for Andy Moog on March 8th, 1988. Battling Billy defeated Vancouver in his first home game on March 18th and beat St.Louis on April first.
He started the 1988/1989 season as Grant Fuhr’s backup and won home games the Islanders and Jets on October 7th and 9th, defeated the Blues on November 2nd, the Maple Leafs on November 19th, Vancouver on the 30th, before losing to the Calgary Flames on December 2nd. However, Ranford didn’t start that game. Fuhr did and was pulled after allowing four goals in 22 minutes. Ranford came in and the Oilers ended up losing 7-4, and because Ranford allowed the 5th goal, he was credited with the loss. Truly a ridiculous rule, since when he entered the game the Oilers were trailing 4-2 and they never tied the game at any point.
Ranford got the loss so his official home record dropped to 7-1.
If we look at home starts to a career then Ranford won his first 11, but for the official record books of best home record to start a career, Koskinen can tie Ranford tonight with his seventh consecutive win.
Koskinen clearly loves playing at home. His aforementioned numbers are outstanding and his teammates are raving about his play.
“He has been remarkable, really. And not just for a few games. He’s been great every game. In Colorado he kept us in the game until we got going in the second period,” said Matt Benning.
When players have confidence in their goalie, they are more likely to try a bit more of a risky play defensively. It is not different than an offensive player who is feeling it. They will try an extra saucer pass, or toe drag, because they are confident it will work, rather than just chip the puck deep.
But don’t mistake confidence in Koskinen for them playing loose defensively. In his last five home starts Koskinen has averaged 29 shots against. He’s only faced over 30 shots twice. In Colorado he had to bail out his team, but at home the team defence in front of him has been much better.
Koskinen is giving the Oilers a chance to win every game, and when needed he has won them a game. He is giving the team Starter-Like appearances and based on games played — he has eight starts to Talbot’s four under Ken Hitchcock — I think it is clear is he the starter moving forward for the Oilers.
One other fun tidbit for Koskinen. Since 1967 expansion only two goalies have registered three shutouts in their first six home starts. Koskinen and Dwayne Roloson did it with Tampa Bay in 2011.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton has scored 3+ goals in nine of their 14 home games. That continues tonight as they win 4-1
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: RNH scores. He has eight goals in nine career games against the Flyers.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Four fans are inspired by the Oilers in-house band and they too dress up like Mario and Luigi in Blue and Orange. The four diehards receive high fives walking through the concourse, and the band watches in envy wondering why those fans are revered, yet no one high fives them despite carrying drums and trombones.
MONTH OF GIVING
Thank you to Emil for his wonderful bid on the Hughes package and for all of you who helped out in the Pyramid of Giving for Adopt-A-Teen.
DAY 10, Package #1: McDavid and Hockey
- A signed Connor McDavid jersey
- Pair of seats, row 22, to the Oilers game vs. Panthers on January 10th.
- $1000 GC to use at any Liquor Depot
- Four bottles of Flat Bourbon Tennessee Whiskey
- Pair of seats, row 23, to Oilers game vs. Blues on December 18th
You can bid by listening to TSN 1260 and calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today. All proceeds will go to the M.E. Lazerte breakfast and lunch program
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