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Will Koskinen Get Back-to-Back Games With Smith on IR?

Will Mikko Koskinen get both starts for the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and Friday in back-to-back games and without Mike Smith?

The Edmonton Oilers will need to make a decision when it comes to their goaltending this weekend. With news that Mike Smith will be out around a week and on the IR, Mikko Koskinen will play at least one of the two back-to-back Oiler games on Thursday and Friday. But will he play both?

Related: Oilers’ Mike Smith Day-to-Day After Suffering Injury

Dave Tippett noted that Koskinen will get the first of the two games as he’s pegged to be the starter for Thursday’s game versus the Arizona Coyotes. Stuart Skinner will join the team and he might play on Friday versus the Vegas Golden Knights, but that’s not a given. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal writes, “Realize it’s back to back for Oilers but if Koskinen can’t play both games in Ariz/Vegas with short travel between the two places, there’s something wrong here. We’re barely into the season. He’s well-rested.” He’s not the only person who feels this way.

At the same time, Skinner looked good in his limited preseason action and the Oilers want to know what they have in him. Edmonton is 3-0 on the season. If they go 4-0 with a win in Arizona, there’s some flexibility that will allow the Oilers to confidently put Skinner in there. Should they lose on Thursday, the risk of going 3-2 in the first five games would label this first road trip a massive failure.

Mikko Koskinen Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck
Mikko Koskinen Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck

On paper, the better of the two teams is Vegas. They’re hit hard with injuries, but the Coyotes are not nearly as skilled and they should be the easier test against an Oilers team who is playing well. Logically, one would think Tippett might put the less-experienced goalie up against the weaker team. That’s not the plan. Tippett must want the win on Thursday and not risk the need to run his temporary starter two nights in a row.

Koskinen came in to relieve Mike Smith on Tuesday in the game when Smith went out with an injury in the second period. Koskinen played well. He’s earned the right to start, he probably wants to start and the Oilers want to keep this winning streak going.

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