Kronwall's long slap shot late in the second period flew past the net and ricocheted straight back off the boards. The puck hit the back of Devils goalie Cory Schneider's left leg and rolled into the net to give Detroit a 4-1 lead.
The Red Wings -- coming off an 0-2-1 road trip against Buffalo, Ottawa and the New York Rangers -- improved to 5-1-1 at home.
"On the road, bounces weren't going our way, we couldn't put it in the back of the net," Detroit's Brendan Smith said. "Tonight, to see a goal like (Kronwall's), finally we got some bounces our way. Those help for sure. We've been looking for some of those and finally got them."
Schneider said he was aware of the lively boards at Joe Louis Arena.
"It's probably the only rink where it could have gone in," he said. "I tried to get my skate back there, but I think it came off (the boards) in the air."
Steve Bernier and Jordin Tootoo scored for the Devils, who lost their third straight. Schneider stopped 20 shots while giving up all four goals in the first two periods, and was replaced by Keith Kinkaid to start the third. Kinkaid stopped all seven shots he faced.
Detroit scored on two of its four power-play opportunities while New Jersey, last in NHL on the penalty kill, was 0 for 3 in extra-man chances.
"Bottom line, they were the better team," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We would have been stealing points if we had won."
The Red Wings controlled play from the start and outshot the Devils 14-3 in the first period, but trailed 1-0 until Kindl and Smith scored 32 seconds apart late in the period.
Kindl's power-play shot from just inside the blue line bounced off the stick of Devils defenseman Adam Larsson and over Schneider's glove hand with 1:05 left to play in the first. The Red Wings controlled the ensuing faceoff and took the lead just 33 seconds later on Smith's own long wrist shot, his first goal of the season.
In the second period, it took the Red Wings a matter of seconds to capitalize on their second power play of the evening. Immediately following a hooking penalty to the Devils' Marek Zidlicky, Henrik Zetterberg won a faceoff in the left offensive circle and Kronwall passed to Franzen in the right circle, where he beat Schneider for a 3-1 lead with 8:19 left in the period.
Tootoo, playing in his first game since Oct. 21 because of a foot injury, gave the Devils hope for a comeback when he beat Howard less than 3 minutes into the third period for his first goal of the season, but the game remained scoreless the rest of the way despite a better effort from the Devils.
"We knew we didn't bring our `A' game the first two periods and we wanted to fight back in the third period," Devils forward Stephen Gionta said. "Just too little, too late."
The Devils took a 1-0 lead when Bernier scored his first goal of the season at 3:18 of the first period. His wrist shot from five feet was the Devils' first shot of the game and their only solid scoring opportunity of the period.
"Obviously it was a good game for us," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "The first 10 minutes, until we had the penalty kill, the game was fairly even. And then we took over the game from that point. The other team, they're paid to try, too. Sometimes you don't dominate from the get-go."
NOTES: The Red Wings played without C Pavel Datsyuk, who suffered a groin injury during a team skate earlier in the day. ... New Jersey was without three of its top three forwards: Ryan Clowe (undisclosed injury), Mike Cammalleri (head) and Martin Havlat (lower body). ... The Red Wings hosted military appreciation night on Friday. Fans were encouraged be donate items to be sent to Michigan military members stationed overseas and the Red Wings wore camouflage jerseys during pregame warmups that will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Operation USO Care Package Program.