So he was overjoyed when Pavel Datsyuk scored at 4:57 of overtime to give the Red Wings a 3-2 win on Thursday night.
"We didn't want to go that far," he said. "It was nice to finish it off in overtime."
Detroit won for the fourth time in five games and completed a six-game road trip with a 4-2 mark. Petr Mrazek made 25 saves and improved to 3-0 in four career appearances against St. Louis.
Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar scored in a 60-second span in the second period to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.
David Backes and Alexander Steen tallied third-period goals for St. Louis, which had a five-game winning streak snapped. Steen scored with 48 seconds left in regulation to tie it 2-2.
Detroit is 1-7 in shootouts. The Blues are 4-2.
Zetterberg provided a perfect screen on the winning goal, parking himself in front of goalie Brian Elliott. Datsyuk's drive deflected in off Elliott's blocker.
"I heard the bench say five seconds, and I just shot as quick as possible," Datsyuk said.
It was the fourth winning tally of the season for Datsyuk and his 15th of the season.
"I didn't see it," Elliott said. "It just snuck in there."
Andersson scored his first goal of the season with 1:56 left off a scramble in front of the net. Tatar tallied his team-high 18th by picking up the rebound of a shot by Jonathan Ericsson.
Backes cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal early in the third period.
Mrazek, filling in for Jimmy Howard, who is out two-to-four weeks with a groin injury, made several fine saves down the stretch and improved to 7-3-1.
"The guys cleared a lot of rebounds for me," Mrazek said. "This is big. You're always happy when you have a win like this."
Elliott, who fell to 11-6-1, made 21 saves.
The Red Wings have won their last three games in St. Louis by a combined score of 11-3.
"I felt Detroit was a step quicker than us," Steen said. "And it cost us the game."
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock agreed.
"I thought the scoring chances were even," he said. "I thought they made it really hard on us. That's the best somebody has played against us in this building in a long time."
NOTES: The Blues granted G Martin Brodeur a one-week leave of absence on Wednesday. The 42-year-old Brodeur, who signed with St. Louis on Dec. 2, went 3-3 with a 2.87 goals against average. ... The Blues have played the Red Wings 276 times, second-most of any opponent in franchise history behind Chicago (293). Detroit, which entered the game averaging 30.6 shots per game, managed just three through the first 31:42. ... Jincy Dunne, who scored the winning goal in overtime to lead the United States Women's U-18 team to a 3-2 win over Canada in the goal medal game Monday in Buffalo, dropped the first puck. She is from the St. Louis suburb of O'Fallon, Missouri.