Shiftin' into fourth

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

DETROIT -- The Edmonton Oilers rolled into Hockeytown feeling pretty good about themselves going into last night's tilt with the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. And why not?

After seven straight losses, their longest lurch in a decade, the Oilers came calling with a tidy little three-game win streak on the go for the first stop of a seven-game road trip, their longest of the season.

The Red Wings began the night 12-1-0 and boasting nine straight wins, good enough to tie a team record. Another win, and the Red Wings would set an NHL record for the most points through the first 14 games of a season, with 26.

TORRES SCORES OT WINNER

Speaking of unimpressed and streaking, enter Raffi Torres, who scored his ninth goal of the campaign 1:51 into overtime to keep the Red Wings out of the record book in a 4-3 victory for the Oilers.

"They've been playing great," said Torres, who is on a torrid stretch of his own with five goals in his last five games. "It was good for us. That win shows a lot about our team."

Torres redirected a Steve Staios feed behind Chris Osgood to send the Oilers to St. Louis with four straight wins. Not record book stuff, but a much-needed two points on a night Cory Cross and Marc-Andre Bergeron went down with injuries -- Cross with a sprained left knee and Bergeron with a broken left ring finger when he was hit by a puck.

"We paid a pretty big price for that win," coach Craig MacTavish said of a blue line that's short three bodies. "It would have been really disappointing for the team to come out of this with anything less than two points."

The Oilers had a lot of jump and plenty of the play from the git-go, twice taking leads in the first 40 minutes only to have the Red Wings battle back and get even.

Up 1-0 just 4:34 in when Shawn Horcoff coaxed a Ryan Smyth feed past Osgood, Detroit tied it when Tomas Holmstrom took a Cross gift, a mind-numbing giveaway in front of Jussi Markkanen, and zipped it top shelf on the backhand three minutes later.

Ahead 2-1 in the second period after a Smyth tap-in on a power play on a sweet feed to the far post by Ales Hemsky - the Joe Louis announcer provided comic relief by calling the red-hot Czech "Alice Helmsly" - the Oilers again saw Holmstrom respond when he one-timed a Pavel Datsyuk pass behind Markkanen.

"We didn't expect to get off to this good of a start," former Oiler Kirk Maltby said of the Red Wings hot streak.

"We just played three (games) against Chicago and we had two with Columbus, so we still feel like we haven't played our best hockey. That's what we're working on right now. We've had lapses during games."

When Fernando Pisani, without a goal for 14 games dating back to the 2003-04 season, made it 3-2 on the deflection of Chris Pronger's point shot four minutes into the third, the Red Wings trailed for a third time.

WILLIAMS TIES 'ER UP

Not so fast. Detroit's power play struck again as Jason Williams tied it 3-3 with 12 minutes to play, setting the stage for Torres.

"Even though they kept tying it, I don't think there was any point where we felt we were going to lose the game," Torres said.

PECA IMPROVING: Michael Peca, who sustained a mild concussion against Columbus Tuesday on a hit by Rick Nash, is scheduled to skate on his own in Edmonton today. Word from the team is Peca's appointment with Dr. Dave Magee Wednesday went well. There's still no word, however, on when Peca will rejoin the team.

AROUND THE RINK: Cross had to be helped from the ice in the second period with a sprained MCL and did not return ... with Cross and Bergeron out and Igor Ulanov already on injured reserve, the Oilers will put in a call to Hamilton or Iowa for a rearguard ... Hemsky has scored 3-6-9 in his last four games.


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