SUN Hockey Pool

The wait's over for Torres

Edmonton Oilers' Raffi Torres celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during third period...

Edmonton Oilers' Raffi Torres celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during third period action at Rexall Place on Saturday. (Edmonton Sun/Jason Franson)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

The relief was evident on Raffi Torres's face.

The Edmonton Oilers winger had not scored a goal in 11 games prior to firing a shot through Detroit Red Wings rookie goaltender Joey MacDonald in Saturday's 4-3 shootout win.

"It's been a while since I actually did something to help these guys out, so it's good to get that off my back," Torres said. "I felt good out there."

Torres scored the Oilers' third goal on Saturday, which would have stood up as the game winner had Jiri Hudler not tipped a shot in with four seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Torres came down the wing and beat MacDonald with a wrist-shot from the top of the circle.

"I was just trying to shoot the puck and I got my head up at the last second," Torres said. "It's something I've been trying to work on in practice, trying to get that puck to the net a lot more, and it just worked out for me."

The goal was Torres's first since Oct. 23 against Phoenix and his third of the season.

He also went on to score the deciding goal in the shootout.

Last year, the Toronto native had 27 goals.

"You see the benefit to getting the goal. Then he had the confidence in the shootout to get another one," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"He was pretty dangerous after he got the goal. In this league it's all about confidence, you have things going for you or else it's a struggle.

"I've been in situations where you can't carry the puck from one end of the rink to another in practice. It's just a matter of getting confidence. It's nice to see him getting the goal - it was a vintage Raffi Torres goal."

In the shootout, Torres took the Oilers' seventh shot and neatly slipped the puck between MacDonald's pads.

He was one of three Oilers to score in the shootout.

Petr Sykora and Fernando Pisani also scored.

"I saw Fernie go in there and it seemed like he was keeping his five-hole open a little bit," Torres said of the shootout goal. "So I just went in there and tried to slide the puck through there."

Torres had snapped a six-game point-scoring skid earlier in the contest with an assist on Joffrey Lupul's marker in the first period.

Torres now has eight points on the season.

"He's always been a streak scorer," MacTavish said. "Even in the year he played in the American League he was a streak scorer and hopefully this is the start of one."

The Oilers could certainly use the offence. Getting Torres and Shawn Horcoff to snap long goal-scoring droughts bodes well for the team with five games left in their current homestand.

Horcoff had also gone 11 games without a goal prior to his marker on Saturday.

"It's good for both of them," said Oilers centre Jarret Stoll, who himself has gone eight games without a goal.

"They are both very competitive guys and they put a lot of pressure on themselves to do well.

"We know both of them can score goals. It's good to see them break out, and hopefully it's the start of something big.

"Hopefully with Raffi and Joffrey scoring, our line can get something clicking too and this could be the start of something."

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE ...

Jean-Francois Jacques is going to try to make the most of his demotion.

It's the only way of getting back to the NHL.

"You have to look at it like that," said Jacques, who was assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League yesterday.

"I'm disappointed, but on the other hand, I'll get there and get a chance to play a lot more, hopefully. You have to look at this as an opportunity to get my game-shape back and play a lot of minutes, hopefully."

Jacques had only dressed in four of the Oilers' first 20 games this season, where he did not register a point and had a minus-three rating.

His last game was against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 8.

Last season, the six-foot-four, 217-pound winger spent the majority of the year in Hamilton, scoring 24 goals and adding 19 assists for 43 points in 65 games.

He also suited up in seven games for the Oilers but didn't score a point.

"They (Oilers) told me it would be better for my development to go down there and play a lot of minutes there," Jacques said.

"I'm looking to get in the lineup every night down there and playing every game. Hopefully I'll just be there for a couple of weeks and I'll come back up."


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