Oilers, Garon would rather skip shootouts

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:20 PM ET

Is it even possible for shootouts to be as important to the Edmonton Oilers this season as they were last season?

The popular answer is no way in heck - not after Edmonton set NHL records for shootout appearances (19) and wins (15).

That was a freak wave that the Oilers rode for all it was worth, right? Can't happen again.

Can it?

Four games and three shootouts into the preseason, you have to wonder.

"You never know, I thought we'd maybe catch a break this year in shootouts but it doesn't look like it so far," said Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon, who stopped 32 of 34 penalty shots last year en route to a perfect 10-0 record. "That's why we were still in the race at the end of the year, all those shootouts.

SLAM THE DOOR

"We can make it easier for us by not allowing goals at the end of games. Play tighter in the third period and we can avoid those. But if we have to go into shootouts, we'll do it that way."

Without their mind-boggling winning percentage, the Oilers would have been struggling to stay out of 15th. It's unrealistic to expect them to duplicate their shootout efficiency (they're only 1-2 in preseason, so far), and they're not all that eager to see if they can.

"It was a lot of wins," said Garon. "I don't know if it's ever going to happen again. I think it would be easier if we just win in regulation."

A lot easier. On everyone from the players to the fans to the coaches.

"We don't want to be in that situation again, especially at home," said Craig MacTavish. "We had three home games and three shootouts ... I'm not overly concerned about it right now, but you want to be winning your home games, not taking them to shootouts.

A GOOD THING

"If you get to a shootout on the road it's probably good enough, we'll take that, but at home we want to make sure we're winning (in regulation).

"The troubling part is we haven't been able to protect a couple of leads that we've had, we have to do a better job of that, that's for sure."

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