WWYDW(TE): Who should the Edmonton Oilers start in net in Game 5? Jack Campbell or Stuart Skinner?
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis7 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers have themselves a bit of a conundrum when it comes to their goaltenders.
Stuart Skinner allowed three goals on 11 shots in the first period of Sunday’s Game 4 with the Los Angeles Kings and was pulled from the game during the first intermission. Jack Campbell came into the net for the second period and backstopped Edmonton to a come-from-behind win that evened the series at two games each.
Campbell turned aside 27 of the 28 shots that the Kings threw at him, including one in the latter part of the third period that surely would have put the game out of reach for the Oilers…
The Oilers came into the season expecting Campbell, who inked a five-year, $25 million deal in free agency, to be their starting goaltender. But outside of a stretch in which Campbell won eight starts in a row in January, Skinner has been the main goalie in Edmonton for virtually the entire season.
Skinner posted a .913 save percentage over 50 appearances in his first full season in the NHL while Campbell struggled to an .888 save percentage over 36 games during his first year in Edmonton. The Oilers leaned on Skinner heavily this season, especially early in the year before the team really hit its stride, and he’s a big reason why they wound up having their best regular season since the 1980s.
Given the body of work from the regular season, it should be a no-brainer to go back to Skinner as the starting goaltender for Game 5 in Edmonton on Tuesday night, but the rookie hasn’t looked his best so far during the playoffs. Skinner has allowed 12 goals on 101 shots across the four games that he’s started, good for an .881 save percentage.
There are a couple of arguments to be made in favour of Campbell. It would be going with the hot hand, as he put together a strong showing against the Kings when called upon, but it would also be leaning into the more experienced goaltender. Coming into Sunday’s game, Campbell owned a .915 save percentage over 14 career playoff games.
Over at Daily Faceoff, former NHL goaltender Mike McKenna gave his thoughts on what Jay Woodcroft and Co. should do for Game 5…
“I’m not a gambler by nature. So that makes me hesitant to believe Campbell can simply flip the switch and once again become a top NHL netminder. He may have stopped 27 of 28 Sunday, but there were several code brown moments where Campbell looked unsure of himself.For me, Skinner has fewer nervous moments and he’s got the technical edge on Campbell. Skinner’s steady, measured approach to goaltending is a key part of his consistency. As long as the Oilers play well defensively in front of the Edmonton native, they should win more often than not.But I think doubts are creeping in. And it’s why I think Skinner is likely on thin ice. If he’s given the start in Game 5, he has to play well. The pressure is real. Edmonton doesn’t want to go back to Los Angeles trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers go back to Stuart Skinner, the rookie who’s been a rock for them all season? Or should they roll with Jack Campbell after a huge, possibly season-saving performance? Let us know!
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