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Oilers' Knoblauch: Pickard looked like he's played 100 playoff games

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

The Edmonton Oilers were full of praise for goaltender Calvin Pickard after he backstopped the team to a crucial Game 4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

"He looked like a guy that had played 100 playoff games," Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch told reporters. "Composed, really solid, seeing the puck really well. ... A lot of nice plays. Not only that, just the confidence being in net. I don't know how many times he played the puck really well. That's not a guy who's nervous at all, he's enjoying it."

Game 4 was Pickard's first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 32-year-old made 19 saves on 21 shots.

Knoblauch wouldn't confirm whether Pickard would start Game 5, but the bench boss noted "his body of work from (Game 4) allows us to have a lot of confidence in him if we did."

Pickard posted a .909 save percentage in 23 games this season. It's the most NHL contests he's played in a campaign since 2017, which he spent with the Colorado Avalanche.

"Obviously, drafted in Colorado, played there for a couple years, you think you're gonna be on the same team your whole career," Pickard told reporters. "Then, 10 teams later, you're here. It's been a great journey, there's been a lot of learning experiences for me. I don't regret any of it. I'm grateful for this opportunity and just ride it out."

Star forward Leon Draisaitl lauded Pickard on and off the ice.

"Unbelievable. What an awesome guy, what an awesome story," he told reporters. "All year, he's given us a chance to win, and every time he's in there, it seems like he's standing on his head. Super proud of him, not an easy thing to do."

Pickard and the Oilers evened the series 2-2 with the victory and travel to Vancouver for Game 5 on Thursday.

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