They have just one win so far, beating the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in the season-opener in London. The Kings' start is their worst since they were 1-6-0 to open the 1987-88 season, including five consecutive defeats.
"I thought we were better tonight, but felt like it was the same story," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "We made critical mistakes at critical times of the game.
The Red Wings scored two goals each in the second and third periods against Jonathan Bernier, the Kings' 19-year-old rookie.
Detroit backup Chris Osgood made 27 saves in his 600th NHL start, and second of the season.
"To come into another team's building and your goalie makes some big saves, it gives you that calming influence," said Kris Draper, who scored in the second. "The previous games, we kind of let a team get back into it."
Leading by a goal in the third, the Red Wings scored goals less than 2 minutes apart to take a 4-1 lead. Tomas Holmstrom scored from the left side at 5:39 on a pass from Zetterberg, who followed with his fourth goal of the season.
Zetterberg stole the puck while surrounded by three defenders, skated behind the net and went top-shelf on Bernier at 7:21. The Red Wings are 2-0 on the road, having won at Chicago in overtime.
"If you have good confidence, you make the right plays," Zetterberg said. "We have a little more depth this year and special teams are better."
Detroit was whistled for six penalties. The Kings' two minor penalties, totaling four minutes, were their lowest of the season.
"We got a lot of penalties; I have no idea why," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Then we had to kill penalties and Ozzy did a good job."
Michael Cammalleri, the Kings' leading scorer with six, prevented the shutout with a power-play goal at 1:44 of the third.
Draper's boarding penalty carried over from the second period, then Andreas Lilja went off for high-sticking, giving Los Angeles a 5-on-3, which Cammalleri converted with a slap shot from the left circle.
After a scoreless first, Detroit got goals from Pavel Datsyuk and Draper in the second.
Datsyuk's shot went through Bernier's legs and dribbled across the goal line as the rookie reached back with his left glove in a futile attempt at the puck. Zetterberg assisted 40 seconds into the period.
Draper scored on a short-handed backhander at 3:06.
Bernier stopped 26 shots on the 40th anniversary of the Kings' first game.
Cammalleri is tied with Ottawa's Dany Heatley for the NHL goal-scoring lead. ... The Kings beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 on Oct. 14, 1967, at Long Beach Arena in the club's first game. ... The Red Wings opened a four-game West Coast swing, with Anaheim next on Monday night.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: STAPLES Center Location: Los Angeles, California
Referees: Stephane Auger, Dan Marouelli Linesmen: Mike Cvik, Brad Lazarowich
Attendance: 17,215 (95.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
No scoring this period
Pavel Datsyuk (1)
Assist: Henrik Zetterberg
Kris Draper (4)
Mike Cammalleri (6)
(Power Play) Assists: Lubomir Visnovsky, Alexander Frolov
Tomas Holmstrom (5)
Assists: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk
Henrik Zetterberg (4)
Assists: Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk