First, the good news.
The San Jose Sharks beat the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night in the overtime shootout to escape with a 3-2 win that leaves them as the sole undefeated team in the National Hockey League after almost two weeks of regular-season play.
Now, the bad news.
The Sharks blew a 2-0 lead in this game to even let it get to the overtime session in the first place, including giving up the tying goal just 51 seconds into the third period -- reminding San Jose fans of the team's defensive shortcomings from the past two disappointing postseasons.
But again, a win is a win, and the Sharks' 7-0-0 start to the shortened 2013 NHL season is a very positive thing -- as is the team's ability to win close games as they have the past two times out.
"That's what good teams do, but we cannot make a habit of it," San Jose's Michal Handzus told reporters after he buried the first shootout goal of the night -- for the second game in a row. "Obviously, we've got to be better than the last two games. We've got to work on it. The wins matter, for sure, but you cannot let it slide. You've got to still play well."
The Sharks' two regulation goals came in the second period, and both were unassisted. And like so many times before this, the two goals came quickly together -- only 39 seconds apart.
Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski staked San Jose to that 2-0 lead, but Edmonton didn't go down quietly, obviously. Antti Niemi made 26 saves to win his sixth game of the season.
With two shootout wins in succession on home ice, the Sharks now conclude their initial homestand of the season on Saturday with a game against the Nashville Predators (2-2-3).
After a one-game road trip to Anaheim, San Jose returns home for two more games -- giving the Sharks eight of their first 11 games at HP Pavilion.
Thus, it's a great thing they've taken advantage of their opportunities, especially in these shootouts. And give Handzus his due: the 35-year old San Jose forward has no points this year, yet he started the two shootouts this week with goals.
He is now 7 for 12 in two seasons with the Sharks in shootout attempts and 18 for 34 in his career -- the third-best percentage in NHL history.
Dan Boyle also scored in the shootout to clinch the win for San Jose.