Stuart Skinner Delivers
Photo credit:Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
9 months ago
At some point this off-season, local boys Stuart Skinner of the Edmonton Oilers and Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers will get together for a few laughs and talk about what was a good old-fashioned goaltending duel in a 2-1 shootout win for the Flyers last night.
If Skinner wasn’t terrific with a 35-save performance through regulation and overtime, the Oilers wouldn’t have had a sniff of even a single point to extend their points streak to 10 consecutive games – the team’s longest since 2005 – at 8-0-2.
Hart, 24, from Sherwood Park, was just as sharp, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced. It was a noteworthy night for a couple of stoppers who came up through the WHL together – Hart with the Everett Silvertips and Skinner with the Lethbridge Hurricanes – and made it to The Show, becoming friends along the way.
The good news for the Oilers is Jack Campbell, who beat Detroit 5-2 with 30 saves Tuesday to win his seventh straight start, and Skinner, who got the Oilers to overtime with a blocker save on Noah Cates in the final minute, look ready to roll down the stretch. The bad news is the Oilers leaned on Skinner far too much last night. The Flyers were the better team.
WHAT THEY SAID
Nov 16, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) makes a save during warmup against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
“It was fun,” Skinner said about going up against Hart. “He’s a fantastic goalie and I’ve been able to work with him a bit and become good friends, so it’s always fun playing against him, but kind of pisses me off he beat me.
“We put on a lot of pressure the last 10 minutes of the third period, so we did a heckuva job . . . we tried to do everything we could as a group to win the game.”
A heckuva job in the final 10 minutes? Yes. Up until then? Not so much. The Flyers carried the play for long stretches in this game with the Oilers struggling to find any pace on a night when Leon Draisaitl didn’t get anything done and Connor McDavid was held to one assist, extending his points streak to 14 games. Evander Kane, with a goal for the third straight game, was the only Oiler to put a puck behind Hart – a bleeder through traffic.
“I thought both goalies were good,” Oilers’ coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I thought both teams had really good chances, and Stu made every save that we needed him to make. The first one goes off a stick and gets up over his shoulder, but he was great and really competitive. Credit to their team and their goalie as well, because they played a hard game and their goalie played well too.
“I thought Evander, along with Skins, were our two best players tonight. I thought they were both ultra-competitive. Evander was physical. He shot the puck. He’s playing the game the right way. He’s getting up to speed. For someone to come back from that injury, we anticipate it’s going to take him a little while to get up and running, but I think he played a whale of a game. The better he can play, the more dangerous of a team we are.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
At this time of the season, actual points are a lot more important than style points, so shortcomings and all in the City of Brotherly Love, the Oilers are 29-18-5 for 63 points as they prepare to take on the Ottawa Senators Saturday. As an aside, they’re 55-27-8 for a points percentage of .656 under Woodcroft as of today, the one-year anniversary of his promotion from Bakersfield.
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