The Edmonton Oilers aren't used to this type of start to a season.
Benoit Pouliot scored twice, Cam Talbot made 34 saves and the Oilers stretched their winning streak to four games with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
"I think this start is huge for us," Pouliot said after his team improved to 6-1-0. "The last couple of years, we haven't had good starts and it is tough to climb back. Now we are having a good start, and we just have to keep it going."
Patrick Maroon and Milan Lucic also scored for the Oilers, off to their best start since opening 8-1-0 during the 1985-86 season. They have won four of five at Rogers Place, their new downtown arena.
"It's a big win for us," said captain Connor McDavid, who had two assists to give him 11 points this season.
"Tonight was kind of a benchmark for us. ... Tonight was a big test. These guys are a giant in the NHL and we were able to play well and get a win, which is huge for our team."
Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals (3-2-1), who have lost two straight in regulation - something that did not happen at all last season.
"We just need a little more push from the whole group," coach Barry Trotz said. "We're going to have to get a little more greasy, get some of those greasy goals.
"Those key moments when we're still in the game, we have to recognize those moments and we're not recognizing those moments right now. We didn't play well enough to win."
The chances were fairly even in a scoreless first period, with the Capitals getting 11 shots on Talbot, and Edmonton directing 10 shots at Washington starter Braden Holtby.
Edmonton was badly outplayed to start the second period, but ended up taking the game's first lead just more than seven minutes in as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins intercepted a pass, danced around defender Dmitry Orlov and put a long shot on net that Pouliot redirected past Holtby.
The Oilers made it 2-0 with 2:52 remaining in the second, as Pouliot scored his third of the season by banking in a shot off Holtby from behind the Washington net.
Things got a bit heated late in the period when Talbot had enough of T.J. Oshie hitting him with his stick in front on a power-play scramble and ended up unleashing a couple punches of his own that led to a roughing minor.
"More or less cross-checking my knee while I was down," Talbot said. "I didn't think that was right so I more or less gave him a shot back and it was even after that."
Washington cut into the lead 9 seconds into the third as Ovechkin slid a puck under Talbot, scoring in his fourth consecutive game.
Edmonton shook off that goal quickly, though, as McDavid set up Jesse Puljujarvi for a glorious opportunity that Maroon finished off a rebound.
The Oilers got some insurance midway through the third when Lucic tipped Andrej Sekera's power-play point shot into the net.
Notes: It was the first of two meetings this season between the Capitals and Oilers. The next time they play is Feb. 24 in Washington. ... Edmonton has had the NHL's first star of the week for the first two weeks of the season, as Talbot followed McDavid in winning the award on Monday.
Capitals: Washington is at Vancouver on Saturday night, then will close its Western Canada swing with games in Calgary on Sunday night and Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
Oilers: Edmonton is at Vancouver on Friday night.