Edmonton Oilers head coach talks about being in the fight and perhaps no one is fighting harder than Devan Dubnyk.

The Oilers goaltender has felt the ire of fans this season, even though like laundry on a sunny day most nights he’s been hung out to dry.

Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, Dubnyk did his part to keep his team in the contest, turning away 31 shots in a 5-4 loss.

“I think he’s a really good goalie,” said Oilers defenceman Philip Larsen. “I remember when we I played in Dallas, we played against him. He’s good, he’s calm, he’s big. He’s a really good goalie and it was good to see him keep us in the game. He played really, really well.”

Dubnyk’s struggles early on and his inability to steal a game for the Oilers this season prompted management to go out and sign free-agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

While Bryzgalov is in Oklahoma City shaking off the rust, Dubnyk is expected to carry the load, getting an opportunity to prove he has what it takes to be an elite goaltender.

Sunday was a good start, but Dubnyk is not getting any help in front of him as the Oilers are a shambles in their own end.

“He was great, he gave us a chance to win,” said Oilers centre Sam Gagner. “He made some big saves at key times to give us some confidence going forward. Unfortunately we couldn’t come out with the two points for him.”

Whether Dubnyk gets supplanted by Bryzgalov will depend on how much the 33-year-old Russian still has in the tank after being bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers this summer.