Sometimes, grit gets it done.
One needed look no further than banger Todd (Sure Thing) Harvey and Ales Hemsky to see that last night as the Columbus Blue Jackets came calling on the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
On a night the Oilers lost Michael Peca to a mild concussion, they couldn't afford to lose two points before embarking on their longest road trip of the season, seven games, this morning.
There was Harvey, shovelling a pass from Georges Laraque behind Marc Denis for a 1-0 lead, his first goal as an Oiler and just the 87th of his 613-game NHL career.
There was the ridiculously hot Hemsky putting the Oilers up 2-1 in the second period with the first of his two goals, then pumping his fist with blood running down his cheek, courtesy of a high stick from Duvie Westcott, in a rare display of emotion.
Between the two of them, the Oilers got the start they wanted on the way to the result they needed, a 5-1 waltz over the Blue Jackets that sends them packing on a three-game winning streak.
"Hey, nobody even bothered to get the puck for me," smiled Harvey, whose return from a high ankle sprain in Dallas three games ago has coincided with the Oilers' latest winning streak.
"We got an opportunity to get out there and create some things. I thought Georges had a great game. We were able to get one, but we maybe could have got a few."
Harvey is 5-0 in Oilers silks. Craig MacTavish has yet to lose when he's pencilled the hard-nosed forward into his line-up.
Hemsky has no such winning streak on the go, although he's on a 3-5-8 personal roll in his last three games after potting a pair last night - his top shelf job on Denis on a power play was a dandy.
"I was pissed off about the high stick," said Hemsky, whose goal came with Todd Marchant serving a hooking penalty after Westcott clipped him under the left eye. "I just tried to do something, so I scored the goal."
The Oilers - just two wins removed from a seven-game losing streak when the night began - had all the of the play and almost all of the shots early, but had nothing to show for it thanks to Denis.
Harvey and Laraque changed that. It was scoreless when Laraque wheeled around the Columbus net and spotted Harvey in front.
He banged the feed home like he'd done it before for a 1-0 lead.
'IT WAS FUN'
"It's nice to get out there in the flow of the game," said Laraque, who played a season-high 10:37.
"I'm glad we were able to contribute to the win. It was fun to be a part of it tonight."
With the Jackets outplayed but even thanks to a goal by Rostislav Klesla late in the first period, Hemsky put the Oilers ahead to stay, gliding into the slot and sifting it top shelf past Denis.
"I don't want to say anything and spoil it," winked Harvey, asked about his perfect record as an Oiler.
"All I know, with this road trip ahead of us, is we had to go out tonight and set the tempo and get the two points. We did that."
AROUND THE RINK ... Igor Ulanov, who broke the big toe on his right foot when hit by a shot in Dallas, didn't dress last night but will travel to Detroit with the Oilers this morning ... Cory Cross had an assist and is on a four-game points streak, the longest of his NHL career ... a sellout crowd of 16,839 was the sixth consecutive full house this season.