LOS ANGELES -- For a guy who's been collecting dust the past month, Mathieu Garon didn't look too rusty in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars.
The Oilers goaltender made 23 saves in the victory and it's conceivable he'll be back in goal tonight to face his former team in the Los Angeles Kings.
"The first save was a vintage Mathieu Garon save where he's pretzel-like, pole-to-pole," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "It was a great save on (James) Neal to preserve a 1-0 lead. It was a great save and I thought he looked good."
Tapped to be the Oilers' starter at the beginning of the season, Garon quickly fell out of favour with the coaching staff, partly due to a couple of poor starts and the play of Dwayne Roloson.
The native of Chandler, Que., had not started a game since getting the hook in a five-goal, 20-shot outing in Pittsburgh on Nov. 6. He did earn some relief time against the Detroit Red Wings two weeks later and was projected to start in Dallas last week, but was forced to miss the contest because of the flu.
"As the game went on I felt a little better, but I did feel a little rusty," Garon said. "In a game like that you want to get some early shots and that never really happened, so I was just waiting and trying to stay focused. It had been so long since I'd played a game and there were some things that I want do better in the next game for sure."
Garon's best save came early, as Neal appeared to catch the Oilers goaltender going the wrong way in the first period. However, somehow Garon was able to get a pad out to stop the original shot, and then grab the puck before it crossed the goal line.
"I was going the other way and he came across," Garon said. "I just tried to do a spread eagle and tried to make the save."
Only Mike Modano was able to beat the Oilers goaltender on the night, banging in a rebound from in tight, then converting a centring feed late in the contest after Garon misplayed a long shot.
Apart from that, he was solid, probably earning another start tonight.
Roloson will most likely play tomorrow in San Jose, the site of a mind-boggling 48-save performance last season.
"I don't necessarily like using the same goalie in back-to-back games," MacTavish said. "I will do it on occasion, but we'll have a decision to make there."
Wednesday's win improved Garon's record to 4-5 this season with a 3.24 goals against average and .892 save percentage.
"The only way to play more games is to play well and win," Garon said. "I think the first three games I won, then I lost four or five in a row, which I think is why I haven't played a lot.
"I don't feel any different now then when I was losing. The goals I was giving up were not long shots, I felt they were more on the rebounds. Sometimes you don't get the bounces and other times you are lucky and able to make the saves."