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Stuart Skinner shines in Oilers victory, Brett Kulak’s game winner, and the 2nd annual Brunch for Ben

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
The best way to erase a three-game losing streak is by winning the next three, and that’s exactly what the Edmonton Oilers have done after beating the Seattle Kraken by a 2-1 score at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Oilers win, the Nation raises money for charity, and life is good.

BRETT KULAK CALLS GAME

At 8:02 of the third period, Brett Kulak scored the eventual game winner on a seeing-eye wrister from the point that made its through a body or two on its way past Grubauer and into the back of the net. As far as game winners go, I’m not sure how many people had Kulak’s name circled on their bingo card except for, you know, ME IN THIS MORNING’S GDB.
My own witchcraft aside, there’s nothing I love more than seeing the Oilers get a big goal from someone you don’t expect, and there’s no better example than Kulak’s third goal of the season. Most of the time, the big names are going to do the bulk of the scoring — the Dynamic Duo opened the scoring for the Oilers at 10:12 of the second period — but you need depth scoring from time to time to close out wins and Edmonton got and needed it against the Kraken.
I also love that it was Brett Kulak who scored what was the eventual game-winner. He’s a guy who doesn’t get a whole lot of love around here, but I’m a big fan of the way he plays and defends, so to have him get rewarded with a big goal was a huge moment for the Oilers’ quiet, steady defender.

STUART SKINNER WAS FANTASTIC

It may not have been the busiest game Stuart Skinner will ever play, but he certainly had his work cut for him with the 25 shots the Kraken fired his way. From start to finish, Stu was called upon to make routine saves, stop grade-A chances, and do what he could to keep the game scoreless until Connor and Leon were able to crack the stalemate.
After having six straight starts below .900 toward the end of February, Skinner has now responded with three fantastic performances between the pipes with three efforts above .940. Skinner finished the Seattle Kraken off with 24 saves and a .960 save%, but even those sparkling numbers don’t do justice to how calm and composed he needed to be to pull off win number 28.
These last three starts have been monster efforts for Stu, and the Oilers are going to be very tough to beat if he can find a way to do it consistently. At only 25 years old, it feels like the best days are yet to come but it sure has been fun watching Skinner figure this whole thing out in real time.

THE 2nd ANNUAL BRUNCH FOR BEN

We threw our second annual Brunch for Ben today at Greta, and I wanted to take a quick minute to thank everyone who joined us for the game and to helped us raise money for the Ben Stelter Foundation. As always, you amazing Nation Citizens helped us pack the bar, and it’s always so much fun to get everyone together for an event like this.
While I don’t have the final total yet for how much cash we raised, I couldn’t be happier about the way everyone braved the snow to cheer on the win and raise money for a fantastic cause. From the moment I walked into Greta until the place cleared out shortly after the game ended, it was so much fun to see everyone show up ready for a good time. The vibes were off the charts.
I also want to offer a very special thank you to the Stelter family for joining us as our special guests. It was so wonderful to have them with us for our second annual Brunch for Ben, and it was even better to hear that Mike Stelter is doing well in his own battle. As much as everyone was there to watch the hockey game, there are so many things much more important in life and we were so blessed about the way things went and that we were able to help in even the smallest way.
Thank you so much to all of you for making today’s watch party an event I’ll remember for a very long time.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

-Today’s win propelled the Oilers past Vegas in the Pacific Division standings, which is ridiculous to think about given that the Golden Knights were twenty points head of Edmonton back in December.
-How about six straight 30-goal seasons for Leon Draisaitl? Watching him develop into an absolute stud has been an amazing ride because I sometimes think back to his frustrating rookie season, and how there were a handful of people at the time who truly believed that the Oilers would be better off moving him. Could you imagine? Now, with a decade worth of hindsight under our belts, the thought of anyone ever thinking he should be traded is pretty damned hilarious. Though, I will say that I wasn’t a big fan of the penalty he took with the empty net, even though I absolutely believe that Kraken player dove like he was fishing for Olympic gold.
-Connor McDavid picked up his 73rd assist of the season on Draisaitl’s 30th, and it’s starting to seem like a forgone conclusion that he’s going to hit the century mark for helpers this season. That number is absolutely bananas to me.
-The Oilers were dealt a special teams loss Saturday, giving up one goal on three shorthanded situations while also getting blanked in two power play chances.
-I know blocking a tonne of shots is a generally a symptom of a greater problem, but you have to love the way the Oilers got in the way of 21 shots on goal. There were a few moments when it looked like Seattle was going to score only to have their chance erase by a well placed body part. You love to see the boys sacrifice for each other, you know?
-Let me dampen your Saturday just a little bit by letting you know the Oilers won only 44% of the faceoffs they took. Not ideal. Not ideal at all.

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