Oilers make huge Stuart Skinner decision ahead of Game 6 vs. Canucks

Edmonton has made a decisive defensive move for their crucial Game 6 matchup against the Canucks.

Oilers' G Stuart Skinner looks at Canucks players during the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The stakes are high for the Edmonton Oilers during the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers are down 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks and have a pivotal Game 6 approaching. Moreover, Edmonton made a notable goalie decision on Stuart Skinner.

Skinner will start in goal for Game 6 on Saturday, per Sportsnet. In addition, head coach Kris Knoblauch revealed the Oilers will be without Adam Henrique, Elliotte Friedman reports. Furthermore, one player is ill, so there will be an extra skater in warmups.

The Oilers seem to have their hands full for their win-or-go-home matchup against the Canucks. Moving Stuart Skinner to the lineup should provide the team with a fresh defensive presence. Skinner has amassed five wins and one shutout with a 3.22 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage. He looks to revitalize Edmonton’s resistance after Calvin Pickard’s efforts.

Pickard was the primary goaltender for Games 4 and 5. He helped the Oilers beat the Canucks 3-2 in Game 4 after amassing 19 saves on 21 shots against. Pickard put up similar production in Game 5 after going 32-for-35. The veteran goalie will do all he can to support Stuart Skinner in a crucial Game 6.

The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been thrilling, and Edmonton’s matchup is no different. The Oiler-Canucks series has gone back and forth with each team trading wins. If everything goes to plan, Edmonton looks to defend their home rink and force a Game 7. It will not be easy though.

Elias Lindholm and company want to close things out and advance to the second round without an extra game. Vancouver will surely enter Sunday’s matchup with a competitive hunger. At the same time, the Oilers will not go down easy, and their defensive changes will be key.

Oilers must defend like their lives depend on it in Game 6

Kris Knoblauch has been desperately trying to find a way to slow Vancouver’s offense. Whether Calvin Pickard or Stuart Skinner, the Oilers need a huge performance in goal on Sunday. Knoblauch emphasized that Edmonton’s defensive intensity must remain stout to win.

“Yes, we need more saves,” Knoblauch said after Edmonton’s Game 3 loss to the Canucks, per ESPN’s Ryan S Clark. “Tonight, obviously, I felt like that with Picks going in the third period but defense along with goaltending is very important to winning hockey games. Especially in the long term. Yeah, it’s got to be better.”

After Stuart Skinner tallied a .733 SV% in Game 3, Calvin Picks helped slow the bleeding by going 3-for-3 against the team. Yet, it was not enough to get the win. The Oilers were able to improve and get a victory in Game 4, but it will take another standout effort to best Vancouver again.

The Oilers have confidence that Skinner can start Game 6 off with a respectable stand. If he can lock in while Edmonton executes its offense, the team will have a good chance to extend their run in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the Oilers’ must-win game.

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