EDMONTON -- Stuart Skinner feels he has grown in the past year and is better prepared to help the Edmonton Oilers in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I'm much more prepared, and to be honest, a lot of that is through experience," Skinner said. "I got to experience the whole playoff emotions and situations last year and I've really honed down and really focused on that. I'm better this year than I was last year. I'm a lot more prepared for what's to come."

Skinner has been solid in his second NHL season, going 33-14-4 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and two shutouts. He is expected to start for the Oilers at the St. Louis Blues on Monday (9 p.m. ET; HULU, ESPN+, SNOL) in the first of a two-game road trip ending at the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.

Selected by Edmonton in the third round (No. 78) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Skinner took over the No. 1 role from Jack Campbell last season and helped the Oilers get to the Western Conference Second Round, a six-game loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.

Edmonton is second in the Pacific Division, six points behind the first-place Vancouver Canucks and four ahead of third-place Vegas, which it is lined up to face in the first round if the standings hold through the end of the regular season.

"I'm really excited to get going in the playoffs," Skinner said. "I've been preparing for the playoffs pretty much since the halfway point of the season."

WSH@EDM: Skinner lunges across the crease and makes stunning save

Skinner was not expected to be Edmonton's starter when he made the jump to the NHL after four seasons with Bakersfield of the American Hockey League. Campbell signed a five-year, $25 million contract ($5 million average annual value) as an unrestricted free agent with the Oilers on July 13, 2022. The intention was for Campbell to start and Skinner to back up.

Things did not work out according to plan. Campbell struggled and was placed on waivers Nov. 7 after five games. He was 1-4-0 with a 4.50 GAA and .873 save percentage and assigned to Bakersfield the next day after clearing. Skinner took over the No. 1 role and Calvin Pickard was recalled from the AHL.

"It's an interesting situation because you never want to see a friend (Campbell) go down, but to hear that I was going to be the guy just gave me a lot of confidence," Skinner said. "It was good to know that this team and this organization believes in me, and they did give me the ball, and they wanted me to play a ton of games. It really gave me an opportunity to grow not only as a player, but as a teammate as well. And just knowing I have the confidence of everybody in here is extremely important, especially if we want to go all the way."

There were questions how Skinner would handle the pressure of the playoffs when he was a rookie. He started all 12 postseason games but was pulled four times and relieved by Campbell. There are few questions this season. The Oilers are as confident in Skinner as they have ever been in a goalie heading into the first round.

"It's not something that we're worried about one bit," forward Leon Draisaitl said. "I think just his consistency and his maturity, he makes the big stops when it really matters most. Early on in the game in Winnipeg, for example (4-3 overtime win at the Winnipeg Jets on March 26), we weren't into it and gave up a couple of looks early and he was right there for us. He's a mature guy to begin with, and I think over the last year his consistency and his play has been amazing for us."

A big part of Skinner's success comes from his calm demeanor. The 25-year-old seldom seems to get rattled, which has a steadying influence on the rest of the team.

"He's one of those guys that is able to weather the highs of the season and the low of the season and just come in with a great mindset and work ethic each and every day," Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse said. "For me as a teammate, watching him grow into the role that he's played and how important he is to our team, it couldn't of happened to a better person and we're really lucky to have him."

EDM@LAK: Skinner makes a remarkable save in 1st

Edmonton has had a habit of getting off to slow starts this season, giving up the first goal in 34 of its 72 games. Skinner has done his part in keeping deficits to a minimum; the Oilers are 18-14-2 when conceding the first goal.

"It's most important when the goalie stays composed and focused," coach Kris Knoblauch said. "Whatever happens, they're composed and ready to make a big save after that. That just fuels confidence with the rest of the team."

Knoblauch did not know Skinner before he replaced Jay Woodcroft on Nov. 12. He admires his easygoing nature and ability to shake off allowing a goal. Skinner said it is something that does not come naturally and he had to develop as a goalie.

"It's definitely not my makeup, it's something I chose to figure out and chose to accomplish," Skinner said. "At the same time, there's still a lot of games where frustration comes in. I'm only human, so you're going to feel those types of emotions.

"For me, it's a lot of experience and a lot of lessons learned on who I want to be as a teammate and as a goaltender and I think that's been a big thing that's helped me get to where I am today."