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Calvin Pickard Starts Game 5 for Oilers, Plus Other Lineup Notes

Calvin Pickard will be the starting goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 on Thursday night.

Calvin Pickard was in the starter’s net at the morning skate for the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. It has been confirmed he will start Game 5 as the team looks to take the series lead for the first time.

Pickard had a great game, making 19 of 21 saves in Game 4. He was placed into the net after Stuart Skinner struggled. Some called the decision easy considering Skinner’s sub-.800 save percentage but it took guts for head coach Kris Knoblauch to go with a veteran journeyman who had never started an NHL playoff game before. Pickard was solid, looked like a vet who had been there before, and the Oilers played extremely well in front of him.

Vancouver made it close in Game 4 with two late goals, but neither were on Pickard. The first was a deflection up high, the second a bounce of a bunch of net-front bodies with the Canucks’ goalie pulled. Pickard made key saves and critical times and Knoblauch said that his performance gave the Olers enough confidence to go back to him, should they choose to do so.

Edmonton is hoping he can have a repeat performance and the team continues to mesh with him in net. They have confidence in him, but there is also a sense that they work just that much harder to limit high-danger shots against, which is an important part of the Oilers’ success in the playoffs when they win games.

Other Oilers Lineup Notes Ahead of Game 5

Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane didn’t skate for the Oilers on Thursday. Both are expected to be in the lineup. Adam Henrique did skate, but did not take line rushes. He may not be a go, which is unfortunate considering his injury has taken a lot longer to improve than most had anticipated.

The Oilers will probably run with Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the top line again. They will also run the same starting defensive pairs they ended Game 4: Mattias EkholmEvan Bouchard, Darnell Nurse– with Vincent Desharnais, and Brett Kulak with Cody Ceci.

Next: Draisaitl Playoff Dominance: 3rd Player in 35 Years to Hit Milestone

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