SUN Hockey Pool

Goin' with Garon

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

The new goaltending rotation isn't officially "play till you lose," but it might as well be.

Forget about No. 1 and No. 2. When you're stranded in 14th place, there's no time to worry about labels and feelings.

It's all about wins and points now for the 14th place Edmonton Oilers, so they'll ride whichever goalie has the hot hand.

Craig MacTavish, who normally doesn't like to tip his hand when it comes to revealing his starter, didn't even try to play coy when asked about who's getting the nod tonight against Calgary.

"Matty's played exceptionally well lately," he said of Garon, who's won his last two starts, including a 29-save shutout in Vancouver and a 37-save victory in the Saddledome.

"His last two games have been stellar, one of them being against Calgary, so draw your own conclusions on the starter. Hopefully he gives us the same game."

While Roloson wasn't at all to blame for Thursday's loss to Minnesota, his overall body of work this season hasn't been great. So he might have to take a back seat till he rediscovers his form.

"It's a performance-based business," said MacTavish. "If Mathieu Garon plays the way he has the last couple of games - he's playing as well as any goalie in the game - it's a simple fact that his games are going to increase. And with every game he plays more, Rolie's games are going to decrease. I think it's a healthy thing right now."

It's not easy for MacTavish to effectively bench his starter - he has a lot of respect for Roloson and what he's done for the organization - but Garon is too hot to sit right now.

And a lukewarm Roloson is enough of a pro to understand.

"You're always at loggerheads trying to walk the fine line between being totally honest about the way you feel they're playing and destroying any confidence they have left," said MacTavish.

"But both are mentally tough. You can have frank conversations with them and they're not shrinking violets."

Garon, like anyone, just wants to play.

"I've always said I'm ready whenever I get the call."

At 38, Roloson has to prove he still hasn't lost it, and MacTavish is confident he will.

"Rolie is very capable of playing at the same high level he played at a year and a half ago," said the coach. "He has lots to draw on. Over the course of his career he's had ups and downs and he's always been able to work himself out of it and I don't think this will be any exception.

"I don't question the fact that he can work himself out of this."


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