Stuart Skinner’s Unexpected Key to Success

Stuart Skinner turnaround

EDMONTON — Goaltending and special teams are crucial for playoff triumphs.

In a thrilling 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars last night, the Edmonton Oilers showcased both. Connor McDavid netted the game-winner 32 seconds into the second overtime, while Stuart Skinner excelled, stopping 31 of 33 shots for his eighth postseason victory.

The 25-year-old goalie has dramatically improved this season after a shaky start, particularly in November. According to the Sportsnet broadcast team, Skinner’s turnaround was fueled by working with Adam Francilia. An Oilers fan posted a revealing clip on Twitter.

Francilia helped Skinner by “reformulating his stance [and] correcting some imbalances in his positioning,” the broadcast team noted.

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A well-known figure in the NHL, Francilia has assisted goalies like Thatcher Demko, Connor Hellebuyck, and Mike Smith. With a background as a former San Jose Sharks goalie consultant and San Jose Barracuda development coach, Francilia views goaltending through the lens of martial arts, focusing on biomechanics.

This approach significantly boosted Skinner’s performance. Initially, in his first 16 regular-season games, Skinner had a 7-7-1 record, a 3.31 goals-against average (GAA), and a .876 save percentage (SV%). In the following 13 games, he rebounded to an 11-2 record, a 1.85 GAA, and a .932 SV%.

Though his postseason has seen ups and downs, Skinner has been stellar since the Oilers reinstated him after two starts by Calvin Pickard.

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