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Oilers Look to Jack Campbell in Game 4… What About Game 5?

Jack Campbell may have saved the season for the Edmonton Oilers. Should they call on him in Game 5?

When the Edmonton Oilers came out for the second period in Sunday’s Game 4 versus the Los Angeles Kings, it was Jack Campbell in net, not Stuart Skinner. Skinner had allowed three goals on 11 shots, and while none of them were really his fault, head coach Jay Woodcroft felt the team needed a spark. Looking for any jolt that would motivate a miraculous comeback, Campbell was the guy as the Oilers scored three in the second, then tied it again in the third and eventually won in overtime.

The question in Edmonton over the next 24 hours will now be, who gets the starting job in Game 5? As the Oilers head back home with home-ice advantage in what is now a best-of-three series, choosing the right goaltender is of extreme importance.

With the series now tied 2-2, the good news is that this isn’t an elimination game. If the Oilers make the wrong call here, they aren’t out of it. Woodcroft will have the flexibility of choosing the hot hand or going with the steady starter, and if he’s wrong, the Oilers still have two more chances to win games that would mean also winning the series. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy decision. Both goaltenders warrant consideration.

Stuart Skinner Jack Campbell Edmonton Oilers
Stuart Skinner Jack Campbell Edmonton Oilers

When Campbell gets hot, the numbers are there to show he’s a solid goaltender that plays well enough to win multiple games in a row. While he’s been anything but steady for Edmonton since his arrival, there was a run of nine games mid-season where Campbell was the guy and he looked to be the kind of goaltender the Oilers were hoping they’d signed in free agency. If that’s the Campbell that shows up in Game 5 and any others after it, the Oilers are in good shape. If he doesn’t that could be it for him in this season’s playoffs.

What About Stuart Skinner?

Skinner has been the reliable, steady hand. As a rookie, he should be in the Calder Trophy conversation and his numbers haven’t waivered throughout the season. He’s not been other-worldly, but he’s been solid and that’s all the Oilers’ highly-potent offense really needed. Skinner finished the season on an incredible tear while he was their netminder of record. Going back to Skinner makes a lot of sense considering he’s more reliable and has already proven through three playoff games he can perform well enough that the Oilers have a chance to win.

From March 1st on, Skinner had the best record in the NHL amongst starting goaltenders: 14-1-1, 2.43 GAA, .920 SVP. Why would you deviate away from that if you’re the Oilers? Two strong periods from Campbell shouldn’t overrule an entirely solid campaign from your future No. 1 backstop.

Next: Key Points in the Heated Series Between Maple Leafs and Lightning

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