Zetterberg scored twice to pull Detroit into a tie with Washington.
With the Red Wings on the power play and 1:54 remaining in the first period, he scored to tie the game at one. Tomas Holmstrom stole the puck along the left wing boards in the Capitals' zone and sent it to Zetterberg in the left circle. He cut into the slot and, as his passing lane to Pavel Datsyuk was cut off, wristed a shot past Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig.
He tied the game at two with a goal at 5:27 of the second while Detroit skated 5-on-3, knocking in the rebound of a long shot by Nicklas Lidstrom.
Rookie star Alexander Ovechkin opened the game's scoring 5:23 into the first on a Washington power play. Jamie Heward fired a shot from the blue line that was kicked aside by Detroit netminder Chris Osgood. The rebound skipped past Bryan Muir and came to Ovechkin, who lifted it over the scrambling Osgood.
A shorthanded goal gave the Capitals their second lead of the game. At 2:54 of the second, Chris Clark beat Mathieu Schneider to a loose puck in the Detroit zone and sent it to a wide open Matt Pettinger in the slot, where he knocked it past Osgood.
After a non-goal by Washington - waved off by the referee as the goal light and horn went off - and a sprawling save on Ovechkin by Osgood, the Red Wings got their first lead of the game when Datsyuk scored at 4:01 of the third.
Datsyuk picked up a loose puck along the right wing boards and broke in on a 2-on-1 with Dan Cleary. Datsyuk jumped off the boards and cut into the slot, skating around the defenseman while moving in on Kolzig. The Washington goalie sprawled out and Datsyuk skated around him, putting the puck in the open net in a move similar to one that Ovechkin unsuccessfully tried earlier on Osgood.
Lidstrom added a fourth goal for the Wings late in the third, after they killed off a long 5-on-3 that saw the Capitals threaten to tie the game. With 2:53 remaining, he fired a shot from the slot that deflected in front of Kolzig for a power play goal.
The Capitals scored the game's final goal with .4 seconds remaining on a long shot by Heward after the Wings defenders had quit on the play.
Osgood finished the game with 27 saves while Kolzig made 26. Both faced 30 shots.
Detroit went three-for-six on the power play and held Washington to only one goal on seven power play chances.
The Red Wings will be back in action on Monday when they host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Notes: It was announced during the game that Jiri Fischer and his doctors will hold a press conference at Joe Louis Arena on Monday at 4:00 PM. Fox Sports Net Detroit will broadcast live.