Edmonton Oilers Make Big Decision On Goaltending Ahead of Game 4

For the Edmonton Oilers, the performance of goaltender Stuart Skinner was so shaky in Game 3, surrendering four goals on 15 shots (.733 save percentage) through two periods, that he was pulled for the third period, and it turned out to be a deficit they never quite made up in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. 

Now for Game 4, not surprisingly, the Oilers have decided to turn the crease over to Calvin Pickard. 

It will be Pickard's first-ever career playoff start, after getting his feet wet in the third period of that Game 3 loss. 

The 32-year-old started just 20 games for the Oilers this season, but posted a fine .909 Sv% and a 2.45 goals against average. 

Skinner has looked very shaky throughout this second-round series with Vancouver, and overall, in his 8 games started in these playoffs, has a woeful .877 Sv% and a 3.22 GAA. According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, Skinner's performance in this series and these playoffs has been so shaky, (a .793 save percentage this series) that he is statistically the worst playoff performer of any netminder in the salary cap era with at least 15 games played.

Pickard's playoff experience is extremely limited, not only in the NHL (just that one period last game), but throughout his entire 15-year career as a pro, he's appeared in just five playoff contests. But at this point, they obviously feel that anything is better than Skinner.

The Oilers trail the Canucks 2-1 in the series, and desperately need a home-ice win in Game 4 Tuesday night to even things up. 

Photo: © Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports