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game recap

Predators win Central with win against Blackhawks

Rally from down two, will face Stars in first round of playoffs

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

Arvidsson sets franchise record

CHI@NSH: Arvidsson sets Predators record with PPG

Viktor Arvidsson sets the Predators record for most goals in a season with 34 when he gives Nashville a 3-2 lead on the power play

  • 00:58 •

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators won the Central Division for the second consecutive season with a 5-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

The Predators (47-29-6) will play the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dallas won the first wild card.

"It's been up and down throughout the year," Nashville forward Filip Forsberg said. "Obviously, you look back a month, we were looking up on, especially [the] Winnipeg [Jets]. We've just been grinding hard, and I think we earned it."


[WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Predators highlights]


The Predators scored five straight goals after falling behind 2-0 in the first period in the final game for each team.

"I think tonight was really good," captain Roman Josi said. "I thought it was a really good game against a good team. Obviously, we have a big rivalry against the Blackhawks. I'm sure they wanted to win in here, but I liked our game for 60 minutes."

Video: CHI@NSH: Forsberg hammers a slap shot past Ward

Cam Ward made 45 saves for Chicago (36-34-12), which missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

"We've got to get better," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We know we've got to get better. There's an urgency to improve because we don't like the position we're in. We want to be starting playoffs in a few days, and we're not. So there's a lot of work to do, and we'll do it."

Viktor Arvidsson gave the Predators a 3-2 lead at 3:33 of the third period on the power play. He received a pass from Craig Smith on the rush and scored with a wrist shot from the left face-off dot for his 34th goal, passing Forsberg (2015-16) and Jason Arnott (2008-09) for most in a season in Nashville history.

"I was just trying to get it," Arvidsson said. "The last three games, I've been trying to shoot as much as I can, and to see it go in was really nice."

Brendan Perlini gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead 2:58 into the game with a shot from the inside of the left face-off circle off a pass from Dylan Strome.

Drake Caggiula made it 2-0 at 10:07 when he scored off a cross-ice pass from Patrick Kane. It was Kane's 110th point.

Video: CHI@NSH: Caggiula finishes feed from Kane

Dante Fabbro scored for the Predators to make it 2-1 at 9:07 of the second period. Forsberg made a drop pass, and Fabbro scored his first NHL goal with a wrist shot.

"I saw [Forsberg] come around, and he kind of got a handle of the puck, so I saw a little gap to jump through," Fabbro said. "I was screaming, and luckily he dropped it. It went in, and I kind of blacked out there. No, it was a good feeling."

Forsberg scored to tie the game 2-2 at 18:50 on a shot from the right point off a pass from Wayne Simmonds.

"I'm really proud of our guys just for how hard they competed, how hard they worked for it," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "They should be proud too. We wake up tomorrow and it's the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so it's a whole different bird. But I've said this a couple of times: You can't play the Stanley Cup Playoffs in December. You can't even play them today. You can only play what's dealt to you, and that's the regular season. And I thought our guys were incredible tonight."

Colton Sissons made it 4-2 with an empty-net goal with 2:09 remaining. Nick Bonino scored with 57 seconds left for the 5-2 final.

Video: CHI@NSH: Fabbro picks the corner for first NHL goal


They said it

"It's definitely positive that we started to play better, but at the same time, it's frustrating. It's not where we want to be, where a lot of us in here feel like we should be." -- Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith

"It's been a tough year, just because we were dealt with a lot of stuff. We use that slogan, Rise Up, at the beginning, and we talked about it: Rise up from injury; rise up from whatever comes our way; fight for something and rise up. I thought the players, especially tonight when you think about it, knowing that [the] St. Louis [Blues] won before us and down 2-0 in our building, and our guys, they never stopped, and they really competed hard, and they made sure they got it done." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette

Video: Dunkin' Comebacks: Lightning, Canadiens, Predators


Need to know

Kane is the fourth United States-born player to score at least 110 points in an NHL season, joining Pat LaFontaine (148 in 1992-93 for the Buffalo Sabres), Kevin Stevens (121 in 1991-92 and 111 in 1992-93 for the Pittsburgh Penguins) and Joe Mullen (110 for the Calgary Flames in 1988-89). … The Predators' back-to-back division championships are the only two times they've won the Central.


What's next

Blackhawks: Season over

Predators: Host the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of Western Conference First Round (TBA)

Video: Predators become Central Division champs with 5-2 win

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