Oilers face goalie crunch after Skinner placed in COVID-19 protocol

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) makes a save during third period NHL hockey action against the Boston Bruins in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday December 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

The Edmonton Oilers are facing a crunch in the crease after goaltender Stuart Skinner was placed in the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol on Monday morning.

Skinner, 23, was recalled last week with starter Mike Smith still nursing a thumb injury.

He started the team’s game on Saturday night, a 6-4 defeat to the Ottawa Senators where the Oilers allowed five goals in the third period. 

With Skinner out and Smith questionable to play, veteran Mikko Koskinen is likely to start against the Panthers on Thursday, but hasn’t won any of his last six starts dating back to Dec. 1.

Head coach Dave Tippett says he learned on Sunday night that Skinner would have to enter the protocol. 

“It is what it is,” he said. “That’s the world we live in.”

Ilya Konovalov, a 2019 third-round pick who has yet to make his NHL debut, is the team’s only other healthy goaltender. 

The team has now lost 12 of its last 14 games and has fallen out of a playoff spot. 

The Oilers don’t return to the ice until Thursday night when they host the Florida Panthers, the NHL’s highest-scoring team and in the midst of a four-game win streak.

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