The Preds looked like they missed Shea Weber in a key game against the Red Wings, and Detroit capitalized on it, defeating Nashville, 4-1, on home ice.
The Red Wings went ahead with an early 1-0 lead in the first period, courtesy of Valtteri Filppula from a nice pass from Henrik Zetterberg. Nashville earned two power plays in the first period, but the NHL's second-best power play unit couldn't cash in.
Still, the Preds worked the puck a few more times and actually held the momentum between the two teams until the 12:52 mark of the second period when Pavel Datsyuk succeeded with a wrap-around. Just 13 seconds later, Dan Cleary took advantage of a keep-in from a bad clearing attempt by the Predators and gave the Wings a 3-0 lead that Detroit took into the third period.
Filppula scored his second of the game and 12th of the year to stretch the Wings' lead to 4-0. Jonathon Blum recorded his third goal of the year to put the Preds on the board and Nashville continued to try to push for more, getting 15 shots total in the final period, but Detroit had already sealed the victory and went on to win 4-1.
Monday night was Nashville's first game without Shea Weber, who was scratched in light of an upper-body injury he was thought to have suffered after a hit in Nashville's 6-3 loss in Dallas (via The Tennessean). Weber is the Predators' leading scorer (29 points) and top power play producer (leads the team with five power play goals), and it was apparent the team was missing him in those areas, including on defense.
Ryan Ellis played in Weber's place for his first NHL game against Detroit. Ellis was on the ice for 5:31, and earned a total of 18:13 TOI with three shots on net.
The Wings earned two points, but remain one point behind the unstoppable St. Louis Blues and five points back of the leading Chicago Blackhawks. In what could be the toughest division in the NHL, it will be interesting to continue to see how this division race will unfold through the post-holiday portion of the season.