Ty Conklin is the odd-man out, and now is not the time to be on the outside looking in.
While coach Craig MacTavish hasn't come right out and said Conklin has become the third wheel in the Edmonton Oilers goaltending trifecta, it isn't difficult to read between the lines.
Mike Morrison was outstanding in Thursday's 5-3 win over Los Angeles, making 25 saves to improve to 7-2-0. Jussi Markkanen was equally good in a 6-3 win over Anaheim Wednesday, improving to 16-11-5.
Conklin has been scratched for six straight games and he allowed four goals on 16 shots in his last appearance, getting the hook in a 5-3 loss to Ottawa Jan. 14.
"For the first time, I think I've got a good idea who I'm starting right now," MacTavish said as the team jetted to Arizona after Morrison backstopped the win over the Kings.
With the acquisitions of Jaroslav Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom Thursday, the Oilers are carrying 12 forwards, eight defencemen and three goaltenders. Those numbers don't add up.
MacTavish will take a long look at his back-end in coming weeks before somebody is moved there. He also wants to carry 13 forwards, with J.F. Jacques likely to be promoted from the AHL.
"We're going to have to make a decision on the goalies before too much longer and bring in another forward at some point so we have 13 forwards, eight defencemen and two goalies," he said.
To facilitate that, one of the stoppers either has to be waived and sent to the minors or traded. Sending someone down on a conditioning stint still uses up a roster spot, so that's not an option.
Conklin, who has endured two conditioning stints already while MacTavish tried to sort things out, has been given every chance to regain his form. It hasn't happened.
Morrison, on the other hand, has overcome tough back-to-back starts in December that cost him a month in the minors to shine.
Markkanen has also stepped up.
Do the math.
"These things don't go forever, but I'm sure it seems like it goes forever for him," MacTavish said of Morrison waiting his turn.
"They really don't. These situations always rectify themselves."
DRAW IT UP: Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky knocked each other goofy five minutes into the second period in Los Angeles when they collided at the blue-line. Both were slow to get up. MacTavish was quick on the draw when one reporter asked if it was a designed play.
"Smytty and Hemmer executed it perfectly, but Horc is supposed to come in behind it and pick up the loose puck," MacTavish smiled. "He was out of position."
BY THE NUMBERS: Before they scored against the Kings, Radek Dvorak, Ethan Moreau, Todd Harvey and Raffi Torres had gone a combined 53 games without a goal. Moreau had gone 18, Harvey was at 15 games and Dvorak and Torres had reached 10 games each.