VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — It took a while, but Dallas Eakins has finally posted two consecutive wins in his first season as coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
David Perron helped his coach's cause by scoring three goals in the Oilers' 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
"It was a real good road game," said Eakins, enjoying a rare occasion to praise his forwards, defense and goaltender.
The Oilers earned their consecutive wins after six straight losses, while the Canucks lost for the second time in three games. Edmonton also posted its first win in four tries against Vancouver this season.
Eakins was especially grateful for the tight win after the Oilers were blanked 4-0 in their last visit to Vancouver in December.
"We're slowly getting stronger and it's good for the group," Eakins said.
Jesse Joensuu's goal at 2:20 of the third period secured the win before Perron completed his hat trick with an empty netter with just over a minute left.
"You don't want to give David Perron two much room out there," Eakins said. "He can hurt you quickly. He's a deadly shooter and he was able to get freed up a couple times tonight."
Perron has 22 goals on the season for the Oilers (17-32-6), offering a beacon of hope to a team likely to miss the playoffs and already looking to next year.
"We have to be able to look them straight in the eyes and tell (the Canucks) to go away in not always the nicest way," he said. "We need to be able to play with these guys in other years, and it starts right now. We need to set it up for next year.
"The last four or five games are the way we need to play and we are going to get a lot of points if we do that."
The loss spoiled a strong effort from Jordan Schroeder, who had both of Vancouver's goals. They were his first since March 21, 2013.
With just over four minutes remaining in the game, Edmonton goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov denied Schroeder a hat trick, stopping his shot from the slot. The Edmonton goaltender then laid on the loose puck and prevented Daniel Sedin from jamming it in as players from both teams crowded the crease.
Schroeder excelled in his first game since he was sidelined Oct. 19 with a fractured ankle. Before hurting his ankle, Schroeder broke a foot in the preseason and spent the offseason rehabilitating from shoulder surgery.