Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Three Key Things: Stuart Skinner ties Grant Fuhr’s record, Connor Brown getting chances, and McDavid and Draisaitl step back
1 month ago
Pop the champagne, folks. The Oilers did it again and won their 13th straight game in none other than the Battle of Alberta.
Aside from the Oilers reigning victorious over the Flames 3-1, Stuart Sinner unlocked an achievement of his own tonight. Connor Brown had some quality scoring chances, and McDavid and Draisaitl stepped back and let the boys get to work.
Skinner ties Grant Fuhr’s record
Skinner has once again backstopped this team to victory and celebrated an achievement of his own, tying Grant Fuhr for most consecutive wins by an Oilers netminder with 10, and he didn’t even know it.
“I had no idea; I just try to keep on playing the game,” Skinner said after Sportsnet’s Mark Spector revealed his accomplishments.
Fuhr set the record in the 1985-86 season, starting with a win against the on February 14th against the Quebec Nordiques, and ended it following a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers on March 28th.
Skinner seems to be following in the footsteps of Fuhr as he now earns himself a record alongside one of the greatest Oilers netminders there was. Ironically, he did so wearing the Fuhr tribute setup he wore for the Heritage Classic in October.
The 25-year-old has established himself as the Oilers No.1 despite a rocky start to the season. He now has 21 wins in 32 games with a .906 save percentage. A vital part of a stellar defence is good goaltending, and Skinner has defined that over the past little while with his 2.53 goals against average. He’s also been a significant part of the Oilers not allowing their opponents to score more than two goals in the past 11 games.
“He’s been playing some pretty incredible hockey, followed it up tonight with another stellar performance,” Zach Hyman said. “He’s won a lot of game when he only let in one goal. He was phenomenal.”
The thing to like about Skinner is that he’s incredibly focused on doing his job and playing his crucial role in this group. Even tying records isn’t in the back of Skinner’s mind; it’s just playing the game.
Connor Brown is getting chances
At this point, I think it’s fair to say that nearly everyone is rooting for a Connor Brown goal. We know he’s more than capable of doing it, considering the fact he’s done it 90 times since joining the league.
This season he’s had a plethora of opportunities but has yet to find the back of the net. He’s had 63 shots on goal throughout the season, so we know he knows where the puck needs to go.
On Saturday, after a brilliant feed from Dylan Holloway just over the halfway point in the first period, Brown shot what may have been his best scoring chance all year but was ultimately robbed by Flames netminder Dan Vladar, who made a stretching glove save to secure the puck.
Brown had two more shots on net throughout the game but has yet to record a goal in his 35 appearances with the Oilers. His last time recording a goal was almost two years ago, on March 14th, 2022, as a member of the Ottawa Senators. Of course, it’s important to note the knee injury that kept him out for almost the entire 2022-23 season.
Hopefully, Brown is now starting to heat up and get the chance he finally deserves to get his name on the scoreboard with his first goal of the season. His Corsi percentage is 50.47, meaning the Oilers have possession more times than not with his presence on the ice.
McDavid and Draisaitl step back
McDavid ended his 12-game point streak on Saturday night by staying off the score sheet, while his counterpart Draisaitl broke a three-game point streak of his own.
The dynamic duo was still a crucial part of Saturday’s Battle of Alberta; it just wasn’t anything overly special. McDavid had an early break in the first but was stopped by Vladar and contributed another shot on the net later in the game.
However, McDavid did set up some quality chances for his teammates to contribute to the Oilers’ 31 shots on the net and got involved in a few scrums that had Scotiabank Saddledome shaking.
“In hostile environments, it feels like you’re playing against everybody in the rink, and that’s fun for us,” McDavid said.
Regardless of whether McDavid buried one past Vladar or not, streaks and records aren’t the key focus for the Oilers superstar as he mentioned that he and the team haven’t been close attention to those matters and are taking it one game at a time.
Despite breaking his three-game point streak, Draisaitl played a swift and calm game. Like McDavid, he set up ample opportunities for his teammates to capitalize and played well throughout the Oilers’ power play opportunities.
The dynamic duo will be back in action on Tuesday when the Oilers take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Place.
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