NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings have left little doubt that they're the team to beat in the Central Division.
"We know the battle in our division is with Nashville," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We attacked the net well. I thought this was a good road win for us."
The Red Wings may be the team to beat in the Western Conference, but they aren't taking the Predators lightly. Detroit won the first of eight games between the teams this season and stretched its divisional lead over the Predators to six points.
"I don't know if it's about setting a tone as much as it is about putting yourself in a pretty good position," Detroit's Kris Draper said. "Every time we look at the standings we look to see what Nashville did because it is going to go down to the wire with them."
The Predators were called for eight penalties, seven that produced Detroit power plays.
"You have to stay out of the box," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We did what we said we were not going to do and that was put them on the power play seven times. That's where it starts. We can match up in goal.
"On defense we don't quite have the experience of Detroit, but we do have a pretty good puck-moving defense. We just can't give them those power-play opportunities."
It marked the first time this season that the Predators lost in regulation to a Central Division team. The Red Wings are 13-1 against divisional foes.
"Detroit is a good, solid team that does not give up much," Predators captain Greg Johnson said. "We are close, but they have proven on the ice on a consistent basis that they are the best team. We just have to get better."
The Red Wings tied it 1-1 in the second period with a power-play goal. At 17:16, Lidstrom skated just inside the middle of the blue line and fired a one-timer past Tomas Vokoun on his stick side.
Detroit took a 2-1 lead 2 minutes into the third when Jason Williams scored from close range. Lidstrom scored his second of the game with 6:53 left, a power-play goal that was originally credited to Brendan Shanahan.
Vernon Fiddler gave Nashville a 1-0 lead with his third goal in two games. During a power play, Fiddler tapped in the rebound of Kimmo Timonen's shot to beat Manny Legace on his stick side at 13:55 of the first period.
It was the first power-play goal allowed by the Red Wings in six games. They had killed off 22 straight penalties before Fiddler's goal.
"I thought it was a pretty good game overall," he said. "We obviously took some penalties, and that cost us the game. I thought we outskated them and took it to them. But they found a way to win and we didn't."
Notes: Nashville D Shea Weber made his NHL debut. ... The Red Wings are 15-2 when a defenseman scores. ... Detroit LW Henrik Zetterberg was held off the score sheet. It was just the third road game this season that he didn't record a point.
|PPG - Vernon Fiddler (8) ASST: Kimmo Timonen (25), Paul Kariya (24)|
1 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Nicklas Lidstrom (8) ASST: Robert Lang (22)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Jason Williams (11) ASST: Mikael Samuelsson (12)|
2 - 1 DET
|PPG - Nicklas Lidstrom (9) ASST: Steve Yzerman (6), Robert Lang (23)|
3 - 1 DET
|Scottie Upshall Elbowing|
|Chris Chelios Interference against Jordin Tootoo|
|Darcy Hordichuk Interference on goalkeeper against Manny Legace|
|Dan Hamhuis Interference against Daniel Cleary|
|Andreas Lilja Interference against Yanic Perreault|
|Steve Sullivan Hooking against Pavel Datsyuk|
|Nicklas Lidstrom Hooking|
|Robert Lang Hooking against Jordin Tootoo|
|Kimmo Timonen Hooking against Pavel Datsyuk|
|Shea Weber Tripping against Mathieu Schneider|
|Paul Kariya Hooking against Henrik Zetterberg|
|Mathieu Schneider Cross checking against Scottie Upshall|
|Scott Hartnell Interference|