The Edmonton Oilers still haven't put together the complete 60-minute effort they're looking for, but three good minutes beat the Vancouver Canucks last night.
That's the good news, as Ethan Moreau's first goal of the season and another by rookie Patrick Thoresen in the first three minutes in front of 21 saves by Jussi Markkanen in his first start was enough to get it done in a 2-1 win over the Canucks.
As for the bad news ...
"They didn't have much early and we did, but we didn't keep it up. It was just a weird game," said Moreau.
"When we're skating in this building, there's not a team I know that can keep up with us. Unfortunately, we didn't do it for 60 minutes, but our goal was to come out early and we did."
Outplayed for the better part of 40 minutes until they got going in a 2-1 loss in Vancouver Monday, the Oilers didn't waste any time getting out of the gate.
But, outside of that opening 180 seconds - enough to make the Canucks capitulate on a night they too often didn't look interested -- the Oilers were mediocre most of the way.
"I thought it was the product of a couple tired hockey teams," said Craig MacTavish after the Oilers third game in four nights.
"It looked pretty disjointed at the worst of times. At the best of times, it was pretty average ... we did what we needed to win the hockey game. That's what we'll take out of this one."
After beating Dany Sabourin with two of the first three shots they took, the Oilers slowed to a stall. They were held to under 30 shots, managing 20 this night, for the fifth time in six games.
The power play, 0-for-6 in Vancouver, struggled mightily again. The Oilers managed just one shot on their first four chances with a man advantage and finished the night without a goal in eight tries.
Fernando Pisani, troubled by a sore right knee, continues to show lots of try, but he's getting nothing for it. He's without a point.
Then, there's Shawn Horcoff, who's still without a goal and didn't threaten to get one against Sabourin. He didn't have a shot.
"We're finding ways to win," said Steve Staios. The good thing is we understand where we have to be to be as successful as last year. We're not playing bad hockey, but ..."
Moreau got his first 51 seconds in when he gloved down a puck from Jarret Stoll and blew a slapshot past Sabourin from the circle with the Oilers' first shot.
Thoresen, who got his first NHL goal against San Jose in his third game when a shot bounced off him into the net, got one to remember when he took a pass from Marty Reasoner and snapped it past Sabourin to make it 2-0 three minutes in.
After that, Markkanen was as good as he had to be, holding the Canucks without a sniff until Markus Naslund beat him on a power play -- with Sabourin on the bench for a sixth attacker -- with 2:29 to play.
"The comforting thing is we're winning games without playing well, which never happened in the past," Moreau said. "We know in here that we have a lot more to give. We're still getting points without our best."