"We're playing with confidence at home. We've got to find a way to take it on the road with us," Howard said. The Red Wings are 9-11-0 as the visiting club this season and 15-2-1 overall at home.
Brian Elliott stopped 28 shots for the Blues, who suffered a season-high third straight loss.
After an evenly played opening 20 minutes, during which both clubs generated 10 shots, the Red Wings seized control with a decisive middle stanza.
Franzen lit the lamp at the 7:28 mark, then a turnover by the Blues in their own zone led to a goal by Abdelkader 1:17 later. Hudler banged home his own rebound from in front with 53 seconds remaining.