Howard was busiest in a scoreless first period, turning aside all 13 Predators shot en route to his third whitewash of the season and 14th of his career.
Henrik Zetterberg scored his ninth goal of the season 6 1/2 minutes into the middle frame and Johan Franzen iced the win when he converted a Nashville turnover into a goal with 3 minutes remaining in the third.
Justin Abdelkader added an empty-netter for the Red Wings, who finished the night tied with Minnesota for the seventh and eighth Western Conference playoff spots, two points ahead of Dallas and Columbus.
Pekka Rinne stopped 29-of-31 shots for the Predators, who dropped their sixth straight and ninth in 10 contests.
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