Steve Yzerman's season debut was a success as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Los Angeles Kings, 5-4, last night at home.

The Red Wings' captain missed the first 61 games this season because of surgery on his right knee.

Yzerman played 18 shifts, totaling 13 minutes 17 seconds of ice time, but didn't record a shot or point. He won nine of 15 faceoffs.

Brett Hull and Igor Larionov each had a goal and an assist, and Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom and Sergei Fedorov also scored for Detroit.

Mathieu Schneider, Ian Laperriere, Eric Belanger and Derek Armstrong had the Los Angeles goals.

Belanger pulled the Kings within 4-3 with 6:52 left in the third period, but Fedorov scored on a breakaway with 3:07 remaining for a 5-3 lead.

"I really enjoyed being back on the ice," said Yzerman, whose first shift came 54 seconds into the game. "I felt better in the game than I expected. The knee felt about how I expected. I was more comfortable out there than I thought I would be."

Yzerman, 37, played left wing with Luc Robitaille on the right side and Boyd Devereaux in the middle.

"It just feels so good to just have him sitting here in the dressing room with his uniform on," Red Wings goalie Manny Legace said. "To have him sitting on the bench . . . he's the greatest leader I've ever seen."

The prognosis for Yzerman, who had an osteotomy -- a realignment procedure -- on his right knee on Aug. 2, was a six-month recovery period.

Yzerman is ninth on the NHL career list with 658 goals, and in seventh place with 1,662 points.

* SHARKS 5, FLAMES 2: Teemu Selanee scored two goals, both on assists from Niko Dimitrakos, as San Jose coasted past visiting Calgary.

* SABRES 2, PANTHERS 2: Jaroslav Bednar scored with just over two minutes left in the third period to lift Florida to a tie at home.