The Michigan native, who signed with Detroit this summer after 21 years with the Dallas Stars franchise, scored on his first shot with his new team as the Red Wings opened their season by routing the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 on Friday night.
Just 24 seconds after Johan Franzen put the Wings ahead at 5:11 of the first period, Dan Cleary held off Brendan Mikkelson and slid the puck to Modano, who rifled a wrister from the right of the slot past Jonas Hiller for the 558th goal of his career -- but the first scored as a member of the Wings.
"I didn't sleep much last night and this afternoon was a little restless as well," he said. "It was a great start, then I was able to relax and enjoy the moment a little more."
Modano signed with the Red Wings in August after the Dallas Stars decided they didn't want him for a 21st season. The Livonia, Mich., native leads all U.S.-born NHL players with 558 goals and 1,360 points.
"You love to get that first one out of the way," Modano said. "Then you can relax and kind of get into your little comfort zone and get into the flow of the games and the season."
The 40-year-old also leads all active players with 23 points in season-opening games, including 10 goals.
"Mike is a real good player who is going to be a big part of things," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Mike is a great fit and he's going to have a lot of fun."
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle was among those who were impressed.
"He's a world-class player," Carlyle said. "Everybody says his skill set has been diminished, but not every time I see him play."
Detroit added second-period goals by Pavel Datsyuk and Cleary to make things easier for goaltender Jimmy Howard, who made 21 saves for the shutout as Detroit improved to 14-1 against Anaheim in their last 15 meetings at Joe Louis Arena.
Datsyuk made it 3-0 at 5:29 of the second period with a slick deflection of a pass from Henrik Zetterberg, opening his stick and guiding the puck through Hiller's pads. Cleary was rewarded for crashing the net when his shot hit Hiller's pads, caromed off the streaking forward and went over the goal line an instant before the net came off the pegs.
Datsyuk, who also had an assist, wound up with a Gordie Howe hat trick when he got into a third-period fight with Anaheim forward Corey Perry -- the first of his career. The four-time Lady Byng Trophy winner more than held his own against the much bigger Anaheim forward.
"It's too bad for him," Babcock joked. "Now, he can't win the Lady Byng."
The Wings lost defenseman Jonathan Ericsson about five minutes into the game when he left with back spasms and didn't return. Anaheim defenseman Andy Sutton didn't return after a second-period fight with Ruslan Salei.
Anaheim lost its fourth consecutive opener and is 4-13 all-time on opening night. The Ducks played like a team that desperately misses former captain Scott Niedermayer, the leader of their defense. He retired last summer, and the Ducks in their own zone for most of the night.
"Looks like we weren't ready to play," said Hiller, who made 39 saves and was under siege for much of the night. "Probably starts with me and goes all the way through."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report