While stardom is the big story in this upcoming series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers, what might be the biggest x-factor is which team gets the most stable goalie.
Stuart Skinner has been the best option against Jack Campbell this season for Edmonton, but was shaky in the Oilers’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings with a .890 save percentage. Meanwhile, Laurent Brossoit excelled behind the Vegas systems and managed to beat Connor Hellebuyck with a .915 save percentage to give the Golden Knights the easy win in the series.
Both guards have plenty of question marks, though, especially as the competition will continue to toughen as the playoffs progress. Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna caught up with Jason Gregor on Daily Faceoff Live to talk about the goalie battle in this series.
Jason Gregory: Talking to some people, the one thing you’ll notice with Brossoit is that he has the shortest stick length, one of the shortest stick lengths in the league because he has really long arms. If his hands are down, I think Edmonton will try to shoot upstairs.
We saw the streak continue against Korpisalo, they really exposed him up top, especially if they went down the left side, they shot the other side and had quite a bit of success with that.
As for Skinner, you watched LA in the beginning, they were really attacking side by side, and I think Vegas is going to do more of a dynamic East-West attack because that’s where you’re going to have the most success against Skinner .
The thing is, Edmonton has actually been pretty good defensively. If you look at Sportlogiq all year and all, Edmonton has been a pretty good team to limit high quality chances. I think Edmonton had the third-best expected save percentage on high danger chances of any team in the league, and that’s usually a stat that people will tell you is a representative of a team that can go far in the playoffs. And they just beat the team that was above them in LA which was second.
I think Edmonton generally does a pretty good job of protecting their goaltenders overall, and I think that’s what they’re going to have to do, because I agree Skinner hasn’t been great, but I liked how he bounced back after being taken out in Game 4. I thought he looked a lot more controlled. Obviously game 6, everyone knows about the broken stick, but you can’t do anything with that, I don’t know how many games he will play and I will never have such a situation. But he didn’t shake himself, and that might have shaken a young man, but he didn’t shake himself given the time and the situation of that goal, giving up an equalizer at that point in the game in penalty kill was brutal, but he didn’t waiver after that, I thought it was important.
You can watch the full episode here…