The Oilers, on the tail end of a back to back, were pleased with how the team responded and came together for their second straight win.
"Tonight was a gratifying win for everybody in our organization because I thought it took the whole team," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
"It wasn't on one or two people's backs. It was everybody finding a way to contribute, following a game plan, sticking with it, and when we needed to manage the game well because of circumstances - injuries, back to back and that type of stuff - we did a good job of it."
The Oilers came into the game leading the NHL in road penalty killing, having not allowed a goal in 17 shorthanded outings away from home. Their streak ended on the Red Wings first power play of the game.
Edmonton's Eric Gryba got called for interference on Gustav Nyquist at 7:47 of the opening frame. Brendan Smith sent a point shot on net, and Justin Abdelkader cleaned up the rebound in front at 8:53 of the first period.
The Oilers tied things up at 16:39 of the first, with a nice goal that began with a battle on the wall. Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson and forward Leon Draisaitl battled for the puck along the boards, and it leaked out to Milan Lucic at the blueline. Lucic patiently skated the width of the ice before firing a shot that banked behind the net. Pitlick picked it up and hammered home a wraparound goal, his fourth tally of the season.
"I was just going for the quick wrap," said Pitlick. "It looked like he was getting over (to the post) but it ramped up off his stick or something. It squeaked in. If you put it there, sometimes it goes."
Pitlick's goal was the continuation of a strong opening period for the winger. In the first 20 minutes, he had four shots on goal.
"I definitely had a lot of jump early. We all did," said Pitlick. "We had a lot of good chances early and throughout the game as well. We got a little tired later with it being a back to back, but we battled through it and we got the win so it's good."
With just 20 seconds remaining in the second period, Edmonton took their first lead of the game. Connor McDavid fed Nugent-Hopkins through traffic on a power play. Nugent-Hopkins went bardown for the 2-1 lead, at 19:40.
"That was just a play that I saw," said McDavid. "It's fortunate that it worked out. If that pass got picked off then we're having a debate on why I didn't shoot it. I saw a play and we're lucky it worked out."
Edmonton was able to close out the one-goal game despite their injury-depleted lineup. The Oilers were missing Zack Kassian, Kris Russell and Jesse Puljujarvi. Taylor Beck was recalled from the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League in the morning and flew in just in time to play on the fourth line.
"Playing back to back, with only 20 hours or so between games, some young guys stepped up big," said Gustavsson. "It shows we have a lot of depth. There's a lot of good things going for us."
The win was the Oilers first in Detroit since December 3, 2009.
The two teams meet again on March 4, 2017 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The Oilers (9-3-1) closes out their road trip in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, at 5 p.m. MT.