Edmonton Oilers: Stuart Skinner in COVID protocol is latest blow to Oilers

Stuart Skinner #74, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Stuart Skinner #74, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

When it rains it pours, goaltender Stuart Skinner has been placed in COVID protocol, the Edmonton Oilers announced on Monday.

Skinner was recalled from the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors last Thursday and made his first start since December 18 in the Oilers’ shocking 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Edmonton took a 3-1 lead into the final period, only to see it evaporate.

The 23-year-old Skinner stopped 20-of-25 shots in the contest.

“I wish I had an answer,” Connor McDavid said after Saturday’s game. “We’ve talked it over and over again in that room, and obviously, we haven’t found an answer yet. That being said, we’ve got to show up and we have three practices here before our next one to get back to work.”

With Mike Smith out 1-2 weeks with a thumb injury, Mikko Koskinen is expected to start on Thursday against the Florida Panthers. Illya Konovalov will serve as Koskinen’s backup for that game.

Konovalov has played well in the AHL this season, owning a 2.48 GAA and .900 SV% in 10 games played, but he’ll likely be in a depth role only until Skinner is activated.

After starting out on a relatively positive note in his first five starts, Koskinen has been disappointing, to say the least.

The 33-year-old has a 3.47 GAA and .889 SV% in 15 starts since November 1, including a backbreaking mistake against the New York Rangers earlier this month. Koskinen misplayed the puck behind the net, leading to an easy goal for the home team just over five minutes into the contest.

“It’s a brutal mistake, what are you gonna do? Call it what it is. We’re playing well, it’s a brutal mistake,” Tippett said following the game.

“I thought we did a lot of things well tonight. Our goaltender wasn’t very good, and we didn’t find enough pucks at the net to get us back in the game.”

The Edmonton Oilers and Panthers will get underway on Thursday at 7:00 pm MT.