Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov each registered three points in the Red Wings' 5-3 victory over the Kings in Game One of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Detroit played the final 40 minutes without center Steve Yzerman due to what the team described as a sore leg. But the Red Wings overcame the absence of their captain to tie an NHL record with their 12th straight first-round win.
Yzerman will have two days rest as Game Two of the best-of-seven series is not scheduled until Saturday afternoon in Detroit.
"It's like a low ankle sprain," Detroit coach Scotty Bowman said. "I don't know what happened. He didn't say anything about it but he couldn't put any weight on it. High sprains are worse. We'll see with treatment the next couple days."
Detroit equaled the mark for consecutive first-round wins held by the Edmonton Oilers, who swept four straight opening series from 1983-86, when they were best-of-five.
"I don't think there's anything easy about playing the Red Wings," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "You're never happy seeing them. Steve is one of the elite players in the league. You're gonna miss guys like that but they have such tremendous depth."
After ending the regular season with a franchise-record 19-game home unbeaten streak, Detroit came out on fire. Tomas Holmstrom, Fedorov and Shanahan scored in the first 13 minutes for the Red Wings, who picked up where they left off in last year's first-round sweep of Los Angeles.
Shanahan recorded a pair of goals, while Fedorov, who was held without a goal in the final 10 regular-season contests, picked up his game in the playoff opener with a goal and two assists.
"After we lost Steve, we kind of doubled up Brendan and Sergei," said Bowman, who normally does not use the two players on the same line. "They responded and played well together."
"I was carrying the puck a little bit more than our previous game and Brendan got in his position faster," Fedorov added. "It looks like we both had a good feeling about each other. He assisted on my goal and I assisted on his."
The Kings, who rode the hot goaltending of Felix Potvin down the stretch to secure the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, suffered their 13th consecutive playoff defeat.
"I think we got a little nervous and we weren't moving the puck like we have in the last month," Los Angeles left wing Luc Robitaille said. "We've got to tighten up defensively because we have guys that can score goals."
Kelly Buchberger pulled Los Angeles within 3-1 just 2:21 into the second period, but Shanahan delivered the back-breaker just 20 seconds later, scoring on Fedorov's rebound to restore Detroit's three-goal margin.
Still, Shanahan was disappointed the way the Red Wings let the Kings back in the game in the second period and feels they need a better 60-minute effort.
"We got off to a good start and our special teams were pretty strong," he said. "We felt that after we got the lead, we sat back a little bit. This is the playoffs. They're not gonna roll over and quit just because we had a 3-0 lead. The second period we sat back a little too much and we let them back in the game."
Potvin went 13-5-5 with a 1.96 goals-against average since being acquired from Vancouver. But he faced a barrage in the first period and the Kings could never recover. Potvin finished with 26 saves.
"If we don't respond well, we're going to be in a lot of trouble," Kings center Bryan Smolinski said. "We didn't support him (Potvin) well."
Chris Osgood, who went 10-0-2 in his last 12 regular-season starts, stopped 27 shots for the Red Wings.
After Ziggy Palffy pulled the Kings with 4-2 at 7:47 of the second, Osgood made his best two saves of the night while Detroit was shorthanded, stopping Palffy's breakaway and Jozef Stumpel's rebound attempt. Palffy shot low into Osgood's arms.
"I pretty much just tried to sprawl out and get as much of my body on the ice as I could and it hit my stick and came out," Osgood said. "I don't know who shot it (on the rebound). It hit my glove or my foot."
Seconds later, Igor Larionov scored on the power play to give Detroit its third three-goal lead.
"They played a little more wide open than we expected," Fedorov said. "We thought it was gonnna be a playoff game. It was a little bit easier than we expected."
Robitaille tallied with 2:20 left in the second to keep the Kings in it. But Detroit tightened the reins in the third, allowing only four shots, including two after Los Angeles pulled Potvin.
The Kings, who averaged six minors per game in last year's series, put themselves in an early hole as defenseman Jere Karalahti was called for interference 5:30 into the contest. Detroit cashed in the power play at 6:23 as Holmstrom took a centering pass and beat Potvin low to the stick side with a one-timer.
Just under 2 1/2 minutes later, Shanahan chased down Nicklas Lidstrom's dump-in and centered in front to a wide-open Fedorov, who snapped a one-timer between Potvin's legs at 8:51.
Shanahan completed the early barrage with 6:36 left, deking Potvin out of position before flipping a backhander under the goaltender's glove.