Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
The Day After 43.0: Stuart Skinner sets Oilers record consecutive win streak with 11th straight win
By Zach Laing1 month ago
These Edmonton Oilers just can’t stop setting records.
And on Tuesday night, Stuart Skinner sure earned his, helping his team stick in a tight one against the Columbus Blue Jackets. His 27-save effort, keeping it a one-score game all night, allowed the Oilers to find their game en route to a 4-1 win.
With the win, Skinner won his 11th straight game — a feat that surpassed a record set by Grant Fuhr, who won ten straight for the Oilers between February 14th and March 25th, 1986.
“It means a lot,” said Skinner after the game, where he was named first star for his efforts. “I was feeling a lot of emotions, especially going on the ice as the first star there, because it’s pretty cool being able to break a record from one of the best goalies to ever live, a guy that I look up to, a guy that I’ve talked to, and he’s just one of the best.
“I’m very fortunate to be able to break it.”
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
Skinner’s record wasn’t the only one set, as the club extended their franchise-best — and modern Canadian team-best — winning streak to 14 games in a row. It’s a mark that hasn’t been hit since the 2016-17 season when the Columbus Blue Jackets won 16 straight.
The only others to do it? The 1929-30 Boston Bruins (14 wins), the 1981-82 New York Islanders (15), the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins (17), the 2009-10 Washington Capitals (14), the 2012-13 Penguins (15) and the aforementioned Blue Jackets.
While that might be something many in the hockey world look to as the Oilers continue to roll through every team they face, Skinner’s performances have — at least almost — been overlooked. Over this 11 game winning streak he’s been on, there have been 42 goaltenders who have played at least 300 minutes, or six games worth of ice time.
Among them, according to Natural Stat Trick, Skinner’s .949 save percentage ranks first. His 1.44 goals-against average ranks first. His 14.69 goals saved above expected ranks first. His 14.12 goals saved above average ranks first.
Simply put, there isn’t a better goaltender on the planet than Skinner.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Every single game is so different, right?” said Skinner. “There’s games where it’s been tight, there’s games where we kind of take over, there’s games where other teams take over.
“It’s been a lot of resilience from our group. Going off the streak, going off my play, going off everybody’s play, it’s been pretty amazing to watch this group work to where we are today.
“At the same time, we have a lot of work to do. We’re kind of in the middle part, and there’s a lot of work to be done. It’s up to us to keep moving forward here.”
Tuesday’s game was another feather in the cap for Skinner, who only allowed a single goal against. It was one he said “learned a very valuable lesson,” in an otherwise flawless performance.
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That goal scored by Dmitri Voronkov at the 15:25 mark of the first, which tied it up at one after Warren Foegele opened the scoring 7:30 into the game, gave the Blue Jackets life. So much so that at 5v5, They controlled a staggering 77.8 percent of the expected goal share through two periods.
But make no mistake, because they awoke the beast known as the third-period Oilers. It was there they surged back with three goals, scored by Evander Kane, Connor McDavid and Dylan Holloway, that put the nail in the Blue Jackets’ coffin.
The Oilers out-chanced the Blue Jackets 9-0 at 5v5, scoring all three goals there while controlling a stunning 99.55 percent of the expected goal share. Columbus had just three shot attempts the whole frame.
“I think moments like that, where you’re able to come up with a couple big saves and keep your team in it,” said Skinner, when asked about being strong in the Oilers’ crease when his teammates may not have their game going. “A big part of our job is just being able to give our chance to win.
“I think I did that for a couple of periods, and in the third period we took it home. It was really good pushback from our group.”
Good pushback indeed from a group pushing all the right buttons.
Edmonton will look to extend their winning streak to 15 games Thursday night as the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.
This article was updated on Wednesday with further context.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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