Oil goalie Garon-teed to be good

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Mathieu Garon's talents aren't going unnoticed these days.

Then again, his former teammates can't say they're surprised by the way things have worked out.

Buried as the backup behind Jose Theodore in Montreal, then banished from Tinseltown in favour of Dan Cloutier, the Oilers goaltender has finally stolen the spotlight in Edmonton.

Although veteran Dwayne Roloson and rookie Jeff Deslauriers are breathing down his neck with the Oilers carrying three netminders, Garon has followed up a superb first season with the Oil by leading them to victory in their first two games.

He's expected to try for a third straight tonight at the Saddledome as the Oilers face the Calgary Flames on back-to-back nights, with the return engagement in Edmonton tomorrow.

While the Flames and Miikka Kiprusoff have struggled to keep the puck out of their net, the Oilers have allowed the red light to come on behind them just four times in two games so far.

Not that the opposition hasn't had their cracks at Garon, but the 30-year-old journeyman has had a stellar start.

"They acknowledge their goaltender won their first game. And their goaltender had a big impact on winning their second game," Flames coach Mike Keenan said of Garon's 31 and 33-save performances against the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks.

"That's what you can feed off of as a group of young players. If their goaltender is at the top of the game, they'll gain confidence from that."

New Flames winger Mike Cammalleri played with Garon when both were Los Angeles Kings for two seasons after the lockout.

He watched as Garon established himself as a starter in 2005-06, posting a 31-24-3 record in 63 games.

"He's good. He's probably the best goalie I've ever seen at going post to post laterally. He's very, very flexible. He takes the whole bottom of the net away when he wants to," said Cammalleri.

"I think they're going to enjoy him. He's had some success in Edmonton, so we're going to have to do a lot of good stuff to get by him. He's certainly proved himself.

"He's a guy that has worked hard at his game. I think he's deserving of any success he's been having."

It's might have taken him eight years, and there are still some skeptics out there waiting for his bubble to burst, but Garon was a huge part of the Oilers' late-season success last year.

That seems to have carried over into this fall.

"They're feeling good," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "As they should.

"From our point of view, we want to make it two (wins) in a row. It's going to be very intense."

It always is against the Oilers, with many games within the game to watch.

One might be Cammalleri vs. Garon.

Asked if he had any moves that worked on Garon in practices with the Kings, Cammalleri grinned.

"I'm not going to tell," he said.

"I'll tell the guys, but I'm gonna keep those secret.

"He probably thinks he knows where I'm shooting, and I probably think I know where he's going, so it'll be a little bit of a guessing game."


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