With some of his teammates out with food poisoning, Zetterberg scored 1:59 into overtime, giving the Detroit Red Wings a wild 4-3 victory over the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues.
Igor Larionov and Tomas Holmstrom missed the game after getting sick on Friday night's flight home from Dallas. They chose the cheesesteak-cole slaw combination.
"I just had fruit," said Zetterberg, who scored his seventh goal. "It's the first time I didn't eat on the plane, so I am lucky."
Defenseman Chris Chelios had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who extended their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1) and their lead over St. Louis atop the Central to two points.
It was a big game for two of the best teams in the Western Conference, even this early in the season. The Blues played well despite being without three of their stars - Keith Tkachuk, Pavol Demitra and Chris Pronger.
"It was just important to get that win," said Wings defenseman Mathieu Dandenault, who was forced to play forward. "It would have been too disappointing, especially with that lineup they had, with all their stars out, to not come out with two points."
The game was tied, 2-2, late in regulation before the teams traded crazy goals to send it to overtime.
Chelios broke the tie at 17:08 when his slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle near the boards hit the stick of former Wings defenseman Christian Laflamme and dipped between goaltender Fred Brathwaite's legs.
It was the second goal of the season for Chelios, who had gone nine games without a point, the second-longest drought of his illustrious career.
Just 40 seconds later, rookie Petr Cajanek tied it at 3-3. His redirection was headed wide of the left goalpost, but goaltender Curtis Joseph redirected the puck into his own net with his stick as he tried to push it to the corner.
Cory Stillman put Detroit on the power play when he was called for elbowing with four seconds left in regulation. Zetterberg scored three seconds after the man advantage expired.
"I was surprised," said Stillman, who yelled in disgust from the penalty box. "It was his call. I'm not gonna comment on it. It's unfortunate. I put our team down and it ended up being the difference in the hockey game tonight."
The Red Wings were 1-for-8 with the man advantage while the Blues went 1-for-4.
"I thought that the reffing wasn't great," Brathwaite said. "I wasn't spectacular, but they weren't on top of their game, either. There were a lot of weak calls both ways. But it seemd the majority were against us."
After his penalty expired, Stillman was scrambling into the defensive zone when defenseman Jason Woolley faked a slap shot from the top of the slot and sent a diagonal pass to Zetterberg at the bottom of the right faceoff circle.
A 22-year-old from Sweden, Zetterberg one-timed the puck past Brathwaite, who couldn't slide from right to left fast enough.
"I just wanted to hit a one-timer and just hope the puck wouldn't bounce," said Zetterberg, who has three goals in six games. "It wasn't a good shot, but it went in. It's always fun to score. It was in overtime, too, so it was nice."
"The end of the game, I have to make that save," said Brathwaite, who stopped 26 shots. "We battled back the last minute or so, so me myself, I think I've got to make that save."
Defenseman Barrett Jackman and Scott Mellanby also scored for the Blues, who had a three-game unbeaten streak snapped (2-0-1).
Brett Hull and Jason Williams added goals for Detroit. Williams scored for the first time since November 3. He didn't take the cheesteaks and cole slaw, either.
"No," he said. "I stuck with the tuna."