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Skinner pins blames on himself as Oilers win streak ends

Stuart Skinner Stuart Skinner - The Canadian Press

Stuart Skinner pointed the blame solely at himself as the Edmonton Oilers' eight-game winning streak was snapped Thursday in a 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Edmonton goaltender allowed five goals on 22 shots as Lightning climbed back from a 3-2 deficit after 40 minutes to take the win. 

“If I was able to make that last save we might still be playing [overtime] right now,” Skinner said post-game. “The guys played a heck of a game. I don’t think anybody in this room should be upset, except for me, to be honest.

"I think I ended up kind of losing us the game and that’s something I’ll take on and will be better for it.”

The Oilers outshot the Lightning 57-24 Thursday, with Andrei Vasilevskiy making 53 saves to outduel Skinner. 

“Without him, that’s not even a game, so I think we give all the credit to ‘Vasy’ tonight,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who had four goals in the win. “Certainly not a recipe we want to have to rely on every night, but in a game like that, when we don’t have our best and we’re playing a really good team that’s on a winning streak, to have him back there was obviously huge.

“He’s done it his whole life in the biggest moments too. You’re almost not surprised, [but] you should be because to play the way he did against the talent that’s on the other side tonight was, I think, even more impressive. He gave us a chance and we were opportunistic and buried our chances. We got a win. It wasn’t pretty, [but] we’ll certainly take it.”

Prior to Thursday's loss, Skinner had earned seven straight wins, becoming the first goaltender this season to do so. He allowed just 12 goals over his seven-game win streak.

The 25-year-old netminder has an 11-8-1 record this season with a 3.04 goals-against average and a .885 save percentage.

Despite the loss, the Oilers are confident similar performances to Thursday's will lead to victories. 

“I thought for the most part that we played a solid game, but we obviously gave up a couple too many goals,” forward Leon Draisaitl said. “I thought we were the better team and probably deserved to win, but it is obviously not the way that the league works.”

“There’s always going to be games where you play well enough where you should have won, and there’s going to be games where you win that you don’t,” head coach Kris Knoblauch added. “And tonight is going to be one of those where it just didn’t work out. I liked our guys’ effort and [if] we do that again, play like that, more often than not we’ll win.”

The Oilers will look to bounce back as they host the Florida Panthers on Saturday before a stretch of six straight road games.