"I needed to be better": Oilers' Skinner shoulders blame after elimination

May 15 2023, 3:56 pm

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner will likely want a do-over on this year’s playoffs.

In an elimination game versus the Vegas Golden Knights, the Oilers were forced to pull Skinner for Jack Campbell for the third time in four starts, and the fourth time in the postseason.

The rookie, who was recently named a Calder Trophy finalist, allowed four goals on 17 shots as the Vegas Golden Knights ended Edmonton’s season by a 5-2 final score.

“I thought the guys played really hard,” Skinner said postgame. “I needed to be better. I got pulled countless times. It’s hard to take this one off the chin, for sure.”

Skinner’s 3.68 goals against average is the fourth worst in NHL history amongst goaltenders through the first 12 games of the postseason, further proving just how much he struggled.

“I felt confident. No matter what, I feel good,” Skinner told reporters. “I know how to play the game. I’ve done it for many years and I’ve been able to rebound from a lot of goals against in my lifetime. If you think about it this year, there’s one shutout I got, so every game I’m letting in a goal, right.”

Coming into this game, there were questions on whether Campbell may be given the start. The 31-year-old had put up a save percentage of .957 across three relief appearances this postseason heading into last night, though ultimately Woodcroft chose to go with the rookie once again.

“In the end, we win as a team and we don’t win as a team,” Woodcroft said when asked about his decision to go back to Skinner. “I thought there was different points in tonight’s game where we’ve gotta be better. That’s not on one person regardless of the position.”

Despite the frustrating exit, the Oilers’ goalie remains in the belief that success will soon come his way.

“This is obviously part of the book that one day we’re all going to write,” said Skinner. “This is a chapter where it stings and it sucks, it’s painful.”

The Oilers’ goalie debate is one that’s likely to continue well into next year’s training camp.Ā  Skinner enters the 2023-24 season on a new deal, as he’ll be making $2.6 million over the next three seasons, while Campbell is signed through 2026-27, with an annual average value of $5 million.

Colton PankiwColton Pankiw

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