Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula scored for the visitors, but it wasn't enough, as the Nashville Predators fell to the Detroit Red Wings by a 5-2 final on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena. The result ends Nashville's two-game winning streak and pushes their record to 8-11-0 on the season.
Sam Gagner had a hat trick for Detroit, as the Preds dropped a decision to the Wings for the second time in four meetings between the two clubs in 2020-21.
Video: Josi, Haula field questions on 5-2 loss
"It hurts," Haula said of Thursday's loss. "We've been playing better as a group and more consistent. We've gotten a couple wins there, and I thought we're trending toward the right direction, so this one hurts."
"We had a pretty good start, played well in the beginning, and then they scored and they kind of got some momentum," Preds Captain Roman Josi said. "Overall, we had a lot of zone time, a lot of shots, but I think we need to do a better job of getting to the net… We've got to be a little more direct."
Video: Coach Hynes says offense to blame in 5-2 loss
Detroit solved Pekka Rinne for the first time in the two-game set when Luke Glendening scored fewer than five minutes into the contest, but Nashville evened the score before the period was out. Granlund gave the Preds their third power-play goal in the last two outings against Detroit when he followed up his own rebound and beat Jonathan Bernier at 14:15 of the first period.
Video: NSH@DET: Granlund scores PPG to make it 1-1 in 1st
The Red Wings took the lead once more through 40 minutes thanks to a tally from Gagner, but Haula tied the game early in the third with his first as a member of the Preds. That was as close as Nashville came, however, as Detroit scored three more in the third, including an empty-netter from Gagner to complete the hat trick.
As of late, the Preds have been pleased that they've gotten back to playing the way they want to on the ice and embracing their identity as a team. There were still elements of that identity on Thursday, but not enough for a third-straight win.
Video: NSH@DET: Haula bats home puck to tie game 2-2 in 3rd
"We got away [from our identity] a little bit, especially in the second," Josi said. "We turned over too many pucks, and they're a very fast team that had a lot of counter chances, a lot of odd-man rushes, so I thought we got away from it a bit, just getting pucks deep and playing in their end. We've got to get back to playing that way."
The Predators will head home to host the Columbus Blue Jackets for back-to-back matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Nashville's best effort of the season came against Columbus five days ago, and the Preds will be looking for an outing or two like that once again as they try to find ways to collect points to end the month of February.
"There's definitely still some good things there, and it wasn't a terrible game, but we lost the game, obviously, and there's things we can do better," Haula said. "There are some things we can work on, and we just [have to] reset. We're playing back-to-back, Saturday, Sunday, so even though it hurts, forget about this one and just get ready for homestand and put together a couple of wins again."
Video: NSH Recap: Granlund, Haula score in loss
There were no changes in the Nashville lineup from Tuesday to Thursday in Detroit. Yakov Trenin and Jarred Tinordi were scratched for the Preds.
After two weeks without a game at Bridgestone Arena, the Predators return home to host the Columbus Blue Jackets for a back-to-back afternoon set on Saturday and Sunday to start a five-game homestand. Boths games are at 2 p.m. CT and will air on FOX Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game.