Oilers G Calvin Pickard to start Game 4 vs. Canucks

The Edmonton Oilers will start Calvin Pickard in goal in Game 4 of their Western Conference second-round series against the visiting Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

It will be the first career playoff start — and just the second playoff game ever for the 32-year-old Pickard.

“It’s exciting,” Pickard said after the morning skate Tuesday. “Obviously, all you can ask for is an opportunity in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I felt like I had a good season, and the preparation is done and I’m excited to get out there.”

He made his first appearance Sunday in Game 3 when coach Kris Knoblauch pulled starter Stuart Skinner in the third period. Skinner allowed four goals on 15 shots in the 4-3 loss, which put the Oilers down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Pickard saved all three shots that came his way in the third period.

In the regular season — the veteran’s first in Edmonton — he appeared in 23 games (20 starts) and posted a 12-7-1 mark with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

“Obviously the last five, six, or seven years since I’ve been in the NHL, (I’m) consistently just believing in myself,” Pickard said. “I know I can play at this level, and this year I proved it to myself and everyone around me. It’s a really good opportunity tonight and I feel like I’m ready.

“I’m fighting for my life every game. Back in November when I’m getting my first start in November in Florida, it’s a big game for me, and tonight’s a big game for me. They’re all big, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Skinner, 25, has started all eight playoff games for the Oilers and has a 5-3 record, including 4-1 in the first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings. He has a 3.22 GAA and a save percentage of .877 in the postseason.

In the regular season, Skinner appeared in 59 games (57 starts) and had a 36-16-5 record, 2.62 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

–Field Level Media