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GDB 17.0: Calvin Pickard Gets the Call (5pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
3 months ago
Calvin Pickard makes his Edmonton Oilers debut tonight in Florida. It will be his first NHL start in 661 days. He won his last start on January 28th, 2022, in Pittsburgh, stopping 36 of 38 shots (as well as all three Penguins shooters in the shootout) and backstopped Detroit to the 3-2 victory.
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Recent victories over Seattle, New York and Seattle have shown the recipe for success: Limit high-danger chances, get some timely saves and goals, and the Oilers’ odds of winning increase significantly. Stuart Skinner didn’t have to stand on his head in those three wins. He did make some key saves, but they didn’t rely on him to steal games. The loss in Tampa was more an issue of lack of finish. The Oilers dominated the Lighting through the first 40 minutes, outshooting them 28-13, but only led 3-2. They didn’t finish enough of their quality chances, and it cost them.
I wouldn’t expect Calvin Pickard to save the Oilers. For the past seven seasons he’s played more in the American Hockey League. He’s made 19 NHL starts, and 30 appearances, while playing 158 games in the American Hockey league and six in Austria. Pickard did make 74 starts and 86 appearances in his first three NHL season between 2015-2017 and posted a solid .914Sv%. But he hasn’t been a regular NHLer since the 2017 season.
Tonight is an opportunity for him to put himself in the conversation to be Stuart Skinner’s backup for the next few months. It is a wonderful opportunity for Pickard, and he’s obviously elated to be back in the NHL.
“I feel good. I’ve had a lot of good practice time and it always good to be up here,” said Pickard. “You have to take advantage of practices and morning skates to stay sharp when you are called upon,” he added in regard to being a few weeks since he played (in the AHL).

GOOD STARTS…

The Oilers have started well most games this season, scoring first in 10 of 16 games. However, they’ve only won four of those games. Tampa Bay was a great example of having a good start, getting up 2-0, but despite heavily outshooting Tampa they didn’t bury them. They allowed the Lightning to hang around, and then the Oilers gave up a 3-2 lead in the third period. Florida has scored first in eight of their 17 games, but when they score first they usually win. They are 7-1 when scoring first.
Edmonton and Florida have both been solid in the first period, while struggling in the second. Edmonton has outscored its opponents 22-17 in the first, while Florida is also +5 at 20-15. However, Edmonton is 27th in second period goals with 12 and Florida is tied for 30th with 10. Edmonton has allowed 23 and the Panthers 17. Neither team produces much in the second frame.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

RNH – McDavid – Brown
Kane – Draisaitl – Hyman
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Hamblin – Gagner
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Broberg
Pickard
The Oilers will dress 11-7. I’m not sure which forward is coming out, but my guess would be Adam Erne unless there is an injury. I thought the fourth line played quite well. I’d have rather just put in Broberg for Desharnais and keep lines the same. Regardless of the change at the bottom of the lineup, the top dogs need to produce. The PP has been floundering with the top unit sitting at 11.6% for the past 13 games. The second unit scoring some goals has helped the PP be 18% in that time. But the first unit needs to get going.

Panthers…

Verhaeghe – Lundell – Reinhart
Rodrigues – Bennett – Tkachuk
Luostarinen – Stenlund – Cousins
Gadjovich – Lorentz – Lomberg
Forsling – Ekblad
Mikkola – Montour
Ekman-Larsson – Kulikov
Bobrovsky
Sam Reinhart is on fire with 13 goals in 17 games. Aleksander Barkov was hurt in Anaheim on Friday and won’t play tonight. We’ll see how that impacts the top line, and, in theory, it should be a benefit for the Oilers. Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour played their first games of the season in Anaheim as the Panthers’ blue line got a lot deeper.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers are 6-1 in Florida all time since McDavid entered the NHL. Some records are hard to explain, and the Oilers play well in Florida. That continues tonight with a 4-3 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers allow two goals in the second period.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: For the second consecutive game an Oiler scores their first goal of the season. Tonight it is Ryan McLeod.

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