For the first time in their Western Conference second-round series, the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks were not separated by one goal in Game 6 at Rogers Place on Saturday night. And for the first time in the best-of-7, Stuart Skinner looked like a capable playoff goalie, making 14 saves on 15 shots as the Oilers crushed the Canucks 5-1 to force a Game 7 on Monday.

Skinner earned high praise from Connor McDavid, who led the way with three assists in the crucial victory.

“We never had a doubt,” McDavid said of his starting goaltender, per ESPN's Ryan S. Clark. “He's a battler. He's always been a battler. Our team always responds and he's no different. He responded great and gave us a great performance.”

Although the Canucks struggled to generate offensive for much of the night — looking like a completely different team than in Game 5 — Skinner made a few key saves and “did a great job” on a few dangerous chances, per McDavid.

It had been nearly a week since Skinner was benched in favor of backup Calvin Pickard, who won Game 4 in Edmonton before losing Game 5 in Vancouver.

The former Calder Trophy finalist looked more comfortable in the net than in any of the first three games of the series, although the Canucks had immense difficulty creating high-danger scoring opportunities.

And now, in what has been a terrific series to decide the champion of the Pacific Division, it'll come down to a winner-take-all Game 7 on Monday night.

Oilers and Canucks were destined for a Game 7

The3 Edmonton Oilers celebrate a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in game six of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Three times the Canucks led in the series, and three times the Oilers were able to knot things up. The longer this series went, it just looked more and more like a Game 7 was inevitable.

“I think by doing what we did tonight, I think we just showed a lot of desperation,” Skinner said of his team's performance, per ESPN. “Guys were blocking shots all over the place.”

He added: “I think both teams played great. You got to give a lot of credit to Vancouver, but you know Vancouver is going to come out really hard especially in their barn. I think we're going to have to match that and bring some more.”

“Nothing to be satisfied or excited about. We just bought ourselves another day, and I would expect the same level of urgency and desperation from our group,” echoed McDavid, per's Gerry Moddejonge. “I would expect Vancouver to play a better game as well, and I would expect it to be a highly competitive, great Game 7.”

It's been an up-and-down postseason for Skinner, just like it was in 2023 when he was pulled three times against the eventual champion Vegas Golden Knights in Round 2. But his performance in Game 6 was encouraging, and he'll need to be even better in Game 7 if the Oilers hope to reach their second WCF in three seasons.

A chance to play the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final awaits whichever club can find a way to come out on top at Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver on Monday night.

Puck drops just past 9:00 p.m. ET.