‘It’ll be exciting just to be on the same ice as him’

Edmonton Oilers rookie goaltender Stuart Skinner has drawn the assignment from head coach Jay Woodcroft to start in net against the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin on Monday night.

It’ll be Skinner’s first time facing the legendary Ovechkin and he says he’s excited about getting the chance to see Ovi’s famous shot up close and personal.

“He’s an unbelievable player,” Skinner said. “He’s got one of the best shots in the league if not the best shot in the league. He’s scoring 50 every year still. He’s an unbelievable player. Credit to him and I can’t wait to see the shot.”

That Ovechkin shot has dented the twine behind 162 different goaltenders during the Caps captain’s storied career. If Ovi beats Skinner on Monday night he’ll be just one goaltender behind Oilers great Mark Messier (164) for the third-most goals against individual netminders.

“I’ve been watching him since I was ten years old,” Skinner continued. “I know he’s got a good shot. I know he can also make some really nice plays. He’s one of the best players to play the game. Just really exciting that I get to play against him. It’ll be cool.”

The 24-year-old Skinner played in his first NHL game during the 2020-21 season, Ovechkin’s 16th year in the NHL. By the time Skinner played his first full Canadian junior season in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (2014-15), Ovechkin had already scored 422 career goals with the Caps.

“It’s unreal,” Skinner finished. “It’ll be exciting just to be on the same ice as him. It’s a really cool moment for me that I get to see his shot. At some point, I’ll be able to tell people that I got shot on by Alex Ovechkin which is a pretty cool thing to say.

Skinner comes into Monday night’s action with a 2-2 record, a 2.10 goals-against average, and a .944 save percentage. Veteran Jack Campbell has seen the majority of the starts in the Edmonton net but Skinner has posted better results in terms of goals saved above expected. MoneyPuck has him at plus 5.6 there compared to Campbell’s negative 4.4.

Screenshot via @EdmontonOilers/Twitter

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