Calvin Pickard made 27 saves for his first shutout since November 23, 2018, as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 Thursday night at Rogers Place.
“Shutouts are definitely a team stat,” Pickard said after the win.
The Oilers have won 15 straight games, giving them one of the five longest winning streaks in NHL history. The record is 17 games held by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We’re just playing good enough to win right now,” Oilers Head Coach Kris Knoblauch acknowledged post-game. “I think we’ve got a lot more in our group.”
The first period was scoreless, though Connor McDavid nearly opened the scoring just before the horn. He had Petr Mrazek down and a chance from in close on the power play, but flipped his shot over the net.
McDavid would cash in on the same power play early in the second. With Mrazek caught out of position, Edmonton’s captain swept a backhand into the yawning cage.
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Late in the period, Mackenzie Entwistle was awarded a penalty shot after being held by Vincent Desharnais on a breakaway. Entwistle tried to force home a wrister but Calvin Pickard was equal to the task.
“I always remind myself to be patient and get out and have a good gap,” Pickard said about his approach to penalty shots. “It was a good time to make a save.”
“Every time he’s stepped in he’s been outstanding for us,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said of Pickard. “It wouldn’t be easy to just step in every once in a while, but every time he’s in there he’s dialled in.”
“Another really good goaltending performance for us,” Darnell Nurse said. “We didn’t really give up too much. It probably wasn’t the most exciting game to watch, but I thought we stuck to our structure when things got a little hairy in the d-zone.”
McDavid sped in and set up Zach Hyman for his 29th of the season with 13:26 to go in the third. McDavid added a late empty netter.
It’s Pickard’s fifth career shutout.
The Oilers, 28-15-1, will host the Nashville Predators Saturday afternoon. (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 12:30 p.m., game at 2 p.m.).
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