At this point the Oilers may as well give Calvin Pickard a start

This is more of an Oilers problem overall than a Stuart Skinner issue specifically, but something needs to be done to inject some life into the team.
NHL Stanley Cup Final - Edmonton Oilers Practice
NHL Stanley Cup Final - Edmonton Oilers Practice / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Before we delve into this, let's be clear in stating that we're well past the point of blaming Stuart Skinner or viewing his as some sort of liability. He's shown enough during these playoffs, to prove he's more than capable of stepping up and performing well on the big stage.

However, the Oilers are desperate for a spark after losing 4-3 in game three on Thursday night, to somehow inject life into their flagging hopes. Only one team has ever recovered from a 0-3 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final and that was the Toronto Maple Leafs, all the way back in 1941-42.

The Oilers have just not been themselves, including making far too many mistakes. It doesn't help that their calling card -- the power play-- has been snuffed out, with them so far going a shocking 0-for-10.

Oilers being out-goalied

In addition, Sergei Bobrovsky has been sensational in net for the Florida Panthers. Through three games he has allowed just four goals while recording a .953 save percentage, in the process strengthening his case to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Meanwhile in the other net, Skinner has allowed nine goals while producing just a .868 save percentage. Again though, this is not about putting the blame on the goalie, with him arguably only being genuinely at fault for three of the goals he's given up.

The thing is though, Skinner hasn't been able to come up with any big saves at crucial times which could galvanise the team, a la Bobrovsky. No matter how you break it down, allowing nine goals while only facing 68 total shots is simply just not good enough.

in some respects this is similar to what was happening early in the second round series versus the Vancouver Canucks. As a result Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch made the gutsy decision to start Calvin Pickard in game four, with his team down 2-1 in the series.

it turned out to be just what the Doctor ordered, as Pickard saved 19 of the 21 shots he faced in game four and helped the Oilers win 3-2 in his first ever playoff start. And even though he recorded the loss in game five, he still played extremely well in stopping 32 of the 35 shot attempts he faced.

Time to give Pickard his shot

The point is, we're at the stage now where the Oilers have nothing to lose, albeit in the metaphorical sense as opposed to the literal. With the team effectively facing mission impossible, why not give Pickard another start in goal with Tom Cruise unlikely to be available?

We appreciate the sentiment that you should show loyalty and ride your horse until the bitter end. There is also the chance that taking Skinner out could be interpreted as Knoblauch having lost faith in his number one, which could in turn destroy the goalie's confidence.

However, one of the things we do know about Skinner is that he's a standup man and the consummate teammate. No matter how much it might hurt him to not start game four, you know he will also want what's best for the team and gives them the best chance of winning a game.

This is not a case of Pickard being the solution per se; he certainly isn't the long-term answer between the pipes. However, desperate situations sometimes require going against conventional wisdom and taking a calculated risk.

Next. Crucial errors once again cost the Oilers. Crucial errors once again cost the Oilers. dark

The Oilers are in dire straits, but if they can somehow get a win in game four, it might -- just might -- be the spark required to give them a chance, no matter how minuscule. If that means giving Pickard his first ever start in the Stanley Cup Final, then so be it.

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