After a boarding penalty by Red Wings' forward Todd Bertuzzi at the 6:21 mark in the first period of a tied game, the Capitals put the puck in the net past Ty Conklin twice within 61 seconds.
Mike Green (2) scored first with a power play goal, assisted on from Nicklas Backstrom (8) and Alex Ovechkin (3). Then, just over a minute later, Marcus Johansson scored his fourth goal of the season on a wrist shot assisted by Alexander Semin (4) and Mike Knuble (4).
Nicklas Lidstrom, who is playing is 1,500th game in the NHL, said in between periods that the penalty kill near the end of the period should give the team a boost heading into the second period, but unfortunately, they dug themselves an early two goal hole that will make it more difficult to battle back from.
The Red Wings outshot the Capitals in the first period 10-to-8, but Capitals' goaltender Tomas Vokoun saved all 10 shots he faced.