Goaltender Stuart Skinner made 46 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped two more shots in the shootout to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at Rogers Place.
“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time and I think the whole team played a fantastic game,” Skinner said after the game.
“He’s well-liked in our room. He’s worked hard and he looks and plays like an NHL goaltender,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said. “Tonight was a really good challenge for him.
“Coming off a tough game in Winnipeg the other night, we knew we needed a good performance from the goaltender, and he stepped up and wasn’t just good, he was really good.”
There weren’t goals in the first period, but there was plenty of action.
Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck stopped several dangerous Oilers scoring chances.
Late in the first, Winnipeg forward Andrew Copp had two chances on a shorthanded two-on-one but was denied by Skinner.
“Who wouldn’t be a fan of Stu tonight?” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said. “It was obviously an incredible performance — timely saves throughout the game and a huge shootout win.
“They had some good players and he was able to shut them down.”
In the second, Jets winger Kyle Connor had a partial breakaway out of the penalty box, but Skinner made the stop on the shot from the right wing.
Partway though the third, the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl, Tyson Barrie and Jesse Puljujarvi all had excellent chances less than 30 seconds apart. Hellebuyck stopped them all.
With 6:03 to go, Winnipeg forward Nik Ehlers ripped a shot past Skinner’s glove to make it 1-0.
Oilers captain Connor McDavid tied it 28 seconds later, weaving around the Jets defenders and flicking a shot past Hellebuyck on the blocker side.
“He scores big goals at big times of the game and takes the game into his own hands,” Hyman said.
“It’s great to score crazy goals like that, but it’s more impressive to score them in the timely manner in which he’s been doing it — to give our team a chance to win late in the game when they go up by one (goal).”
McDavid went to the box for four minutes with 43.6 seconds left when he was called for high-sticking Jets centre Mark Scheifele.
The Oilers were able to kill off the penalty with Skinner making eight saves in overtime.
Watch below: Some Global News videos about Stuart Skinner.
In the shootout, Skinner denied Connor and Scheifele. McDavid and Kyle Turris scored for the Oilers after Draisaitl was stopped.
“I watched Leon and Connor come in, and when Connor went wide, the blocker side opened up for him,” Turris said. “I thought if I could go wide and cut across and bring it to my forehand, hopefully (Hellebuyck) would stay on the near post and I could beat him on the far side.”
Oilers defenceman Slater Koekkoek was shaken up in a collision in the first period. He returned to action but then left the game for good in the second period with a lower-body injury.
The Oilers (12-4) will host Chicago on Saturday.
–With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED