It's a marathon for Mathieu

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Last night Mathieu Garon made his 16th consecutive start for the Edmonton Oilers.

It's the first time in his NHL career the goaltender has played that many games in a row.

"For me, it doesn't make that much of a difference," Garon said prior to making 31 stops in the 4-3 overtime victory over St. Louis.

"Sometimes it's easier because you play every other night and you don't have to think too much, you just get to the rink and get ready for the games. I really like it."

Garon, 30, was not brought in last summer to be the Oilers starting goaltender. They already had a good one in Dwayne Roloson.

However, due to his play, the Oilers were forced to keep giving the native of Chandler, Que., more and more starts until eventually they decided to go with him exclusively.

Garon was 10-5 during his current playing streak heading into last night. His overall record is now 26-17-1.

There's speculation the Oilers have given Garon the ball to see if he can run with it for an extensive period of time, something he's never done before at this level.

"He's exceeded everybody's expectations and played extremely well," said head coach Craig MacTavish.

"But to answer those questions, you're looking at an evaluation that is over a long period of time, two or three years of continually playing at this level.

"If he can continue to play at this level for two or three years then I think those questions will be answered."

For now, Garon is simply focused on the next two or three games.

"All players want to play all the games; I'm not the one who makes those decisions," he said. "But I'm just concentrating on this week. We have a tough week and I don't want to look too far ahead."

The Oilers open a three-game road trip tomorrow in Colorado. With 12 games left on the schedule, it's unlikely Garon will play out the string. The Oilers still have a pair of back-to-back games left this season.

"Roli is going to be in soon," MacTavish said. "We're going to need him. I'd love to see him come in and rattle off four or five wins off. That's going to be a big difference as we go forward. Matty can't play them all. We'll see Roli in the foreseeable future."


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