DETROIT - Right from the start, it was easy to see which team had fresh legs.
Gustav Nyquist and Pavel Datsyuk each scored twice to lead the Detroit Red Wings over the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 on Friday night.
Nyquist had a pair of power-play goals, and Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar also scored in a four-goal first period to help the Red Wings win their third straight at Joe Louis Arena.
Jimmy Howard made 28 saves — one on Dustin Brown's penalty shot — for his fifth victory of the season. Detroit outshot the Kings 35-30 and kept the Stanley Cup champions winless on the road.
The Kings took the ice a night after being shut out in Pittsburgh. The Red Wings, meanwhile, had Thursday off, and their fresher legs were obvious in the first period.
"We got off to a really good start. The power play was magic," said coach Mike Babcock, whose team started the game 25th in the NHL in power play efficiency.
"The schedule favoured us tonight and we were able to jump on L.A. early."
Alec Martinez flicked a rebound past Howard midway through the second period to put the Kings on the board, and Tyler Toffoli added a short-handed goal early in the third.
Los Angeles had a chance to make it a one-goal game when Brown was awarded a penalty shot 3 minutes into the third, but Howard made a pad save to maintain the two-goal cushion.
The goalie had a bit of help.
"I think with all the rain today it was a bit humid tonight so it probably wasn't the best ice for him to do a move," Howard said. "So I just stayed patient."
Detroit scored on the game's first power play when Nyquist sent home Henrik Zetterberg's centring pass 6 minutes into regulation.
Datsyuk swiped the puck from Dwight King deep in the Kings zone midway through the first and made it 2-0 with his third of the season. Nyquist added his second goal and assisted on Tatar's goal later in the period. Datsyuk added an empty-netter in the final minute.
It was the first multigoal game of the season for Nyquist, who scored in each of the Red Wings' first five games.
Jonathan Quick had 30 saves for Los Angeles after giving up four goals on 12 shots in the opening period.
"I don't think we came out the right way and we were behind the whole game," Toffoli said. "We just have to find a way to come out strong in the first period; not necessarily score goals but play our game."
The Kings are 0-2-1 on a quick four-game road trip that ends Sunday at Carolina.
"The bottom line is we've played three games in four nights and they're sitting here waiting and they've got defencemen who can move the puck," coach Darryl Sutter said of Detroit. "That's what's going to happen."
Fans found "Get Well Gordie" signs on their seats when they arrived for Detroit's first home game since Hall of Famer Gordie Howe suffered a stroke Sunday at his daughter's house in Texas. The sellout crowd held up the signs and stood for an extended ovation after being told "Mr. Hockey" was watching the game on TV.
The 86-year-old Howe has difficulty using the right side of his body and is recuperating in Lubbock, Texas, with his family.
The teams went to the first intermission with 1:52 left in the period to allow workers to replace a shattered pane of glass in one of the corners. Players returned to the ice to finish the first, then started the second period after a short break.
NOTES: Detroit defenceman Kyle Quincey left in the first period with an ankle injury and did not return. Babcock said the team should know more Saturday. ... Los Angeles centre Anze Kopitar missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. Teammate Marian Gaborik missed his eighth game with a similar injury. ... The Red Wings are the NHL's best penalty killers and kept the Kings scoreless on two chances to improve to 0 for 20 at home. ... Kings centre Trevor Lewis had an assist in his first game after missing three weeks with an upper-body injury.