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Oilers reportedly starting Calvin Pickard in Game 4 against Canucks

Edmonton Oilers Calvin Pickard
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
It becomes the battle of the third-string goaltenders.
After three shaky games against the Canucks in which Stuart Skinner posted a .793 save percentage, he is set to be replaced in net by backup netminder Calvin Pickard for Game 4, according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.
Pickard, 32, entered the Oilers season as their third-string goaltender, starting the season in the American Hockey League with the Bakersfield Condors. But when Jack Campbell faltered with the Oilers early in the season, he hit the waiver wire, and the pair changed seats.
While Pickard wasn’t tapped much, he excelled when thrust into the lineup. He posted a 12-7-1 record, a .909 save percentage, and 2.62 goals above expected, according to Evolving Hockey.
For as serviceable as he was this season and over the last number of years with various other clubs, the Moncton, N.B. native has limited playoff experience at any level. In fact, his appearance in Game 3 against the Canucks Sunday night was the first time he played in an NHL playoff game.
Last season, he appeared in two playoff games for the AHL Condors, going 0-2 with a .903 save percentage and 3.04 GAA. He made three playoff appearances in 2018 with the AHL Marlies, going 1-0 with a .956 save percentage. Two of those appearances were in relief, and Pickard was able to win his lone start.
To find his prior playoff appearance, you have to flip the calendar all the way back to 2009 when he was in his rookie season in the Western Hockey League with the Seattle Thunderbirds, playing in five games.
The Canucks, meanwhile, are on their third-string goaltender, with Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith both falling with injuries in the playoffs. Arturs Silovs has been a huge story for Vancouver, filling in admirably with a 4-2 record and a .908 save percentage. Against the Oilers, his numbers haven’t been anything to write home about in Games 1 and 2, but the story of Game 3 was his ability to slam the door on the Oilers, turning aside 42 of 45 shots.
Edmonton’s turning to Skinner isn’t a massive shock, given his struggles so far this post-season, and the truth is that the bar is low for Pickard to replace him.
On Tuesday, Skinner said he feels he let his teammates down in Game 3.
“Last night, I think the emotions just kind of caught up with me,” he said. “It was tough mentally, definitely, last night.
“Obviously, you never want to get pulled in a game, feel like you let down the team. I’ve got some work to do here to get back at it and learn from the mistakes I’ve been making.”
Puck drop for Game 4 is set for 7:30 p.m.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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