It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
Craig MacTavish likely hasn't drawn it up that way, but whether it's been by design or circumstance, his Edmonton Oilers have been living by that old axiom often this season.
Nothing changed when the Vancouver Canucks came calling at Rexall Place last night, as MacTavish's men survived a goal by former Oiler Josh Green 18 seconds into the game, then turned on the jets and won in a waltz with five of the next seven goals on the way to a 5-3 decision.
Jarret Stoll scored twice and Raffi Torres turned a Wade Brookbank giveaway at the side of the net into the winner 6:06 into the third period as the Oilers closed the deal with another strong finish.
LIKE THEY SAY
Like they say ...
"It just hit my stick," said Torres, who stripped the lumbering Vancouver rearguard of the rubber and cashed in. "I got lucky and I just got a shot off quick. I just wanted to get a good shot on net."
Jussi Markkanen, in his first start since a 4-3 loss in Chicago Nov. 19, was fishing the rubber out of his net early when Green beat him with a chip to the top corner.
Just like that, the Canucks, one of very few teams as bad as the Oilers in the first period - they've been outscored 29-18 - had the lead.
Most of the rest of the game belonged to the Oilers, who came in having been outscored 31-19 in the first frame and for a second game in a row gave up a goal on the first shot by an opponent - Ian Laperriere did the deed in a 3-2 Colorado win Tuesday.
"Seems like it was our regular start against this team," MacTavish said.
"For whatever reason, we're uptight a little bit against Vancouver and they've got the skill to take advantage of it.
"After that, we settled back into our game pretty quickly and played a good, solid game throughout."
Stoll tied it at 8:25 in when he sifted a low snapshot past Alex Auld. Marty Reasoner made it 2-1 two minutes later when he jumped on the rebound of a Steve Staios shot and went top shelf.
"Too many times we've been down in the first period," said Stoll, who scored his second to make it 5-2. "It happened, but it didn't get us down on the bench. For the most part, we came back and stuck to our game plan."
The Oilers top line of Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, held to just four even-strength points in their last five games, restored a two-goal lead five minutes into the second.
Everybody got a touch on the 3-1 goal as Smyth took a seeing-eye pass from Hemsky, who was near the blue line, on Auld's doorstep and buried it for his first goal and point in five games.
'READY TO PLAY'
"I thought from the first thing in the morning you could see that the team was ready to play because we kind of let the last game go," Jussi Markkanen said. "Our attitude tonight was just to keep going."
Daniel Sedin's power-play goal, a deft deflection high behind Markkanen cut it to 3-2 with five minutes to go in the second, but when Torres buried the boner by Brookbank, the Oilers were in the clear.
"Two years ago, we would have let that hurt us," Torres said of Green's early goal. "We just put it beside us and said, 'We have to keep playing.' That's what we did."
AROUND THE RINK ... Mike Leggo and Rob Martell kept the whistles in their pockets early as the first penalty wasn't called until 1:33 of the second period, a hooking call on Smyth ... dressing room attendant Joey Moss shook off a puck to the shoulder in the third period as he was hit by a clearing attempt by Cory Cross.