SUN Hockey Pool

Shootout success

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

FORT LAUDERDALE -- It's easy to be the hero in a shootout.

Or to look the fool.

More players than would care to admit have had their best moves blow up on them in the shootout.

It's a long skate back to the bench when you're halfway through your high-speed deke and the puck bounces on the rough ice and sails harmlessly, and embarrassingly, into the corner.

You don't even get a shot away and the team loses the game because of it.

Thanks for coming.

But Patrick O'Sullivan, who's tied for the NHL lead in shootout goals with four (in seven attempts) never lets the 'what if's' get in the way of a high-risk move, like the one he beat Marty Turco with in Edmonton's 3-2 shootout victory over the Stars on Saturday.

"There's no worrying about being safe or conservative -- it's a shootout," said O'Sullivan, who stickhandled about 10 times in his last two strides then quick-released it under the blocker.

"I know I can score in shootouts; I have a good percentage. The last thing I'm thinking about is (losing control and looking goofy).

"That never crosses my mind. If you're thinking like that you're going to miss anyway.

"I'm really confident in the shootout. If there's anything I know I can do well, it's that."

Visnovsky shines

Head coach Pat Quinn cut Lubomir Visnovsky's minutes down to 18 a night not long ago as the defenceman wrestled with consistency. But he's plus four in two games on this road trip, and looking a lot more like a $5.6 million US cap hit.

"We need to have him playing well and we want to get his minutes up," said Quinn.

"We weren't using him killing penalties because he hadn't warranted it, really. Now his play is much better. He'll get the time when he plays like that."

O'Marra demoted

With Robert Nilsson and Ryan Stone (7-2-1 with him in the lineup) back from injury, the Oilers sent Ryan O'Marra down to Springfield.

They also sent defenceman Taylor Chorney back and flew Denis Grebeshkov in to Florida.

Grebeshkov has been out since Nov. 13 with a knee injury but is days away from being ready to get back in the lineup, at the likely expense of Jason Strudwick.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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