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Skinner stands tall in goal again as Oilers force Stanley Cup Game 7


This is going to be yet another Stuart Skinner appreciation story because he was great in Game 6.

Just like he was in Game 5.

Just like he was in Game 4.

Just like he's been since May 18, when he came back after being replaced by backup Calvin Pickard for two games in the second-round against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Edmonton Oilers goalie made the stops his team needed in their 5-1 win over the visiting Florida Panthers to force a decisive game Monday for the Stanley Cup.

While the Oilers controlled the play for the first half of the game, capitalizing on opportunities and Panthers turnovers to take a 2-0 lead early in the second period, momentum's pendulum swung the other way as the minutes ticked away in the frame, with Florida catching up on the shot clock — they'd managed just two in the first — and in scoring chances.

Skinner had to be sharp while Connor McDavid served a hooking penalty and kicked out a low hard shot by captain Aleksander Barkov with 4:28 left in the period.

And then came the third period -- reminiscent of the same block of time in Tuesday's Game 5 Oilers victory — in which the Panthers, by then down 3-0 following a Zach Hyman goal with 1:40 left in the second — played with more urgency and got a boost from Barkov's goal 1:28 in.

While the Panthers continued to press, the Oilers kept their attack at bay, with proceedings late in the period becoming even more intense as Florida fought to score.

Max Reinhart whiffing on a point-blank chance with 4:40 left was one such play, the other coming about a minute and a half later in between empty-net goals by the Oilers when Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk shot the puck from inside the blue line.

Skinner got his blocker on it and twisted around on the rebound chance by Carter Verhaeghe to sweep/pass the puck out of his crease to defenceman Darnell Nurse, who fired it the length of the ice for the final goal.

"I saw an opening, made a nice pass," Skinner said with a smile after the game

Janmark called Skinner "lights out" since the goalie, as mentioned, reclaimed the Oilers net a little more than a month ago.

Skinner, who stopped 20 Panthers shots Friday night, has a .903 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average in the Stanley Cup Final against Florida.

"We need one more game from him," Janmark told media.

Skinner said the most important thing at the end of Game 6 was "being up at that time and being able to win the game at the end."

"Got a lot of work to do, but I'm proud of how we finished the game, too," he said.