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Knoblauch non-committal on Game 4 starter: 'We need more saves'


Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch would not commit to starting Stuart Skinner in Game 4 after pulling the goaltender in Sunday's Game 3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks

Skinner allowed four goals on 15 shots in the first two periods of Sunday's 4-3 loss, with Calvin Pickard posting three saves in relief over the final 20 minutes. 

“We need more saves. Tonight, obviously I felt like that with 'Picks' going in in the third period,” Knoblauch said postgame. “Tonight’s one that he would like to have back, and we’ll see what he’s got in the future, whether that’s Game 4 or Game 5 or whatever it is.

"But we’ll be seeing Stu again, and I have no doubt that he’ll respond and play well.”

Skinner has started every game of the playoffs for the Oilers to this point, having allowed 21 goals on 188 shots through his first seven starts for a 2.96 goals-against average and an .888 save percentage. He has posted a shutout in Game 4 of the team's first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings, but has struggled in the second round, allowing 12 goals on 58 shots against the Canucks.

Skinner allowed three goals in the first period Sunday - one on the power play to Elias Lindholm, and a pair at even strength to Brock Boeser. He allowed a fourth goal near the end of the second frame to Lindholm, which proved to be the game-winner as Vancouver took a 2-1 series lead. 

The Oilers outshot the Canucks 45-18 in the Game 3 loss.

“I thought we were the better team, for the most part,” Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl said. “In my eyes, it should have resulted in a win, but you know that’s not the way hockey works sometimes.

“So, we’ll just regroup and get ready for Game 4.”

Pickard, 32, made his first career playoff appearance in relief Sunday. He appeared in 23 games during the regular season with the Oilers, posting a 12-7-1 record with a 2.45 GAA and a .909 save percentage.