DETROIT, Michigan -- Goaltender Jimmy Howard returned to the Red Wings lineup Friday night but Detroit couldn't hold off the Nashville Predators, dropping a 4-1 decision.
With the loss, Detroit falls to fifth place in the Western Conference standings, one point behind the fourth-place Predators, who have a game in hand.
After the first half of the game was scoreless, Nashville's Gabriel Bourque opened the scoring with 6:55 left in the second period. Bourque flipped a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle through traffic and past Howard to give the Predators the 1-0 lead.
Francis Bouillon made it 2-0 with just 33 seconds left in the period when he picked up a loose puck and snapped it past Howard after a net-front scramble.
At 2:40 of the third period, Alexander Radulov was left all alone at the top of the crease to take a feed from Andrei Kostitsyn and punch it past Howard.
Shea Weber wrapped up the scoring with an empty-net goal in the game's final minute.
Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with Detroit having three chances and Nashville having two.
Howard made 23 saves on 26 shots against in his return from a groin injury. Rinne stopped 31 of 32 shots.
The Red Wings play again on Sunday when they host the Florida Panthers.
Credit: Clark Rasmussen