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Nashville Can Clinch Central Division with Win Over Chicago on Fan Appreciation Night

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

The Nashville Predators can clinch a second-consecutive Central Division title with a win tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018-19 regular-season finale. A victory on Fan Appreciation Night at Bridgestone Arena would also give the Preds 100 points and home-ice advantage as the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next week.

Needless to say, it's a big game tonight in Smashville. The Predators have won their last two outings, both by 3-2 scores over Buffalo and Vancouver. Now, the group has turned their focus to a goal they set way back in training camp - earning another division title on their way to a fifth-straight postseason run.

"With the amount of injuries and different things and adversity that we've gone through this year, to still be in a position where we can capture our division, it's something that we are very proud of and something we should be very excited about," Preds defenseman P.K. Subban said. "It's a Saturday night in our barn against Chicago. It doesn't get much better than that."

[Read More: Preds Projected Lineup vs. Blackhawks]

[Read More: Playoff Opponent Update, Clinching Scenarios]

There are a few individual milestones that could be set by Preds players tonight. Viktor Arvidsson has 33 tallies on the campaign and needs one more to set the single-season franchise record.

Additionally, Preds Captain Roman Josi is one goal away from establishing a single-season career-high of 16, and goaltender Pekka Rinne is one game from tying Miikka Kiprusoff for second-most games played (623) all-time by a Finnish-born goalie.

Video: Predators score three unanswered goals in 3-2 win

Last Time Out:

Ryan Johansen scored the game-winner with 19.5 seconds to play on Thursday night as the Preds came away with a 3-2 win over Vancouver. Nick Bonino and Colton Sissons also tallied on the evening while Rinne picked up the win.

Johansen will finish as Nashville's leading scorer on the season; he leads his club with 64 points, followed by Josi with 56 and Filip Forsberg with 48. Arvidsson's 33 goals are followed by Forsberg's 27 and Craig Smith's 21.

Video: Preds ready for chance to clinch division

The Opposition:

The Blackhawks are out of the playoff picture, but they crushed the Dallas Stars last night in Chicago by a 6-1 final. Patrick Kane has had a stellar season with 44 goals and 109 points, followed by Jonathan Toews with 35 goals and 81 points. Alex DeBrincat has 41 goals on the season; Brandon Saad has tallied 23. Corey Crawford started Friday's game in Chicago but left due to injury; Cam Ward finished the game for the Hawks.

All-Time Meetings:

Tonight will be the 113th time the Predators and Blackhawks clash in the regular season, Nashville's most against a single opponent.

The Predators are 50-49-(4)-9 all-time against the Blackhawks, including a 28-21-(3)-3 record at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds have earned at least a point in five of their last seven games against the Blackhawks (4-2-1), and Nashville has limited Chicago to two-or-fewer goals in six of their last seven meetings.

Video: Coach Laviolette previews tonight's game

Notables Versus Chicago:

Ryan Johansen has 21 points (5g-16a), including six multi-point games, in 27 career regular-season meetings with the Blackhawks. Dan Hamhuis has 33 points (5g-28a) in 70 career contests versus Chicago, and Mattias Ekholm is on a three-game point streak versus the Blackhawks (4a).

When You Go:

Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead of a 7 p.m. puck drop on Fan Appreciation Night. Prior to the game, fans may stop by the Plaza Party presented by Lee Company starting at 5 p.m. featuring live music, a variety of vendors and family fun to start the evening.

All fans in attendance will receive a car flag presented by Bridgestone, and in celebration of Fan Appreciation Night, all Season-Ticket Citizens will also be able to enjoy free popcorn and soda from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The annual Shirts Off Our Backs giveaway will also take place tonight. Fans can enter the contest for a chance to head to the ice following the game and receive a player's game worn jersey right off their back. Entry information can be found at NashvillePredators.com/shirts.

Video: Preds can clinch Central Division tonight

Watch and Listen:

Coverage for tonight's contest begins with Predators Live on Fox Sports Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. (CT). Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Kara Hammer have the call on the television side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. For broadcast information and channel locations throughout the country, click here.

If the Predators are playing hockey, you can count on the game being on at Preds Approved Bars & Restaurants. Locations throughout Tennessee may be seen by clicking here.

For the latest on the Predators' potential Round One opponent, click here.

Streaming Info:

Listen to a Live Radio Feed (only active during the game broadcast window).

Watch a Live Stream of the game on the Fox Sports Go App or Watch on NHL.TV

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