1) Calvin Pickard
As much as the Oilers had to give Stuart Skinner a game off at some point, there was still an understandable concern about Calvin Pickard facing the Devils. The visitors had won three straight and six of seven, and they were one of the top scoring teams in the NHL.
In the end however any concern was unwarranted, as Pickard proved to be excellent versus the Devils. He saved all but one of the 27 shots he faced — and it wasn’t his fault on the one he did let in — and overall provided a calm stability you just don’t get from Jack Campbell.
Admittedly the 31-year-old didn’t have much to do during the first two periods. However, he come through when necessary, to stop the 12 shots he did face and keep the Devils at bay.
Then, when the Devils stepped up their game during the third period with 15 shots, Pickard similarly stepped up his performance. This included making a major save shortly after the visitors had scored their one goal, to stop them gaining any more momentum.
Helping make the occasion even more special for the Moncton, New Brunswick native, he had his wife, children and other family members in attendance at Rogers Place. The end result was picking up his first NHL win since December of 2021.
To get some idea of what Pickard means to his Oilers teammates, consider the words of Nurse. He said:
"“He gets along with everyone, it’s just the way he carries himself. He’s always asking guys questions, how they’re doing and whatnot, and has a good grasp of everyone in the room. I think that’s what makes him so special as a teammate, and we’re very fortunate to have him.”"
In his limited action with the team since being recalled, Pickard has a .918 save percentage and 2.24 Goals Against Average. If he continues to play well when called upon, it will only further complicate the decision surrounding Campbell and his future in the organization.
The 4-1 win over the Devils was also notable for the Oilers reaching the halfway point of their longest homestand of the season, with them a perfect 3-0 so far. Next up comes the highly anticipated first meeting with Connor Bedard, as they host the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.