April 7, 2019 / 3:01 AM / 17 days ago

Predators capture division crown as they defeat Blackhawks

EditorsNote: 5th graf reworded, clarified

Apr 6, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Nick Bonino (13) and Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) celebrate after a goal to beat the Chicago Blackhawks and win the central division at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Viktor Arvidsson completed the comeback — and set a franchise record in the process — as the host Nashville Predators scored five unanswered goals to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 Saturday night and claim the top spot in the Central Division on the final night of the regular season.

The Predators (47-29-6, 100 points) will face the Dallas Stars in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They are on a roll, having won eight of their last 11 games down the stretch to claim a second consecutive division crown.

Arvidsson — with his 34th goal of the season, a new standard for a Predators skater — broke a 2-2 deadlock with a power-play goal 3:33 into the third period. As the Predators rushed up the ice, Arvidsson received a cross-ice pass inside the blue line and wired a shot that ended up the game winner.

Late goals by Colton Sissons, his into an empty net, and Nick Bonino rounded out the scoring for Nashville, which received a 31-save performance from goalie Pekka Rinne.

The Blackhawks (36-34-12, 84 points), who missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, were staked to a first-period lead thanks to Brendan Perlini and Drake Caggiula. Alex DeBrincat forced a turnover, and Perlini quickly buried a one-timer from the slot just before the three-minute mark.

Caggiula doubled the lead just past the midway point of the opening frame. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane combined to gain the puck, and Caggiula hit the target.

But the Preds roared back. Dante Fabbro, the 2016 first-round draft choice who joined the team last week after completing his junior year at Boston University, collected his first NHL goal at 9:07 of the middle frame when he nailed a top-corner wrist shot.

Then Filip Forsberg tied the game with 70 seconds remaining in the second period. Forsberg unloaded a rocket from the top of the right circle for his 28th goal of the season to make it a 2-2 affair.

Cam Ward made 45 saves for the Blackhawks in what may be his final NHL game.

—Field Level Media

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