Preview: Blackhawks at Predators
The Chicago Blackhawks are not content with going through the motions despite missing the playoffs for the second straight season. One night after preventing a team from securing a favorable postseason position, Chicago aims to do the same when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday for the regular-season finale for both teams.
Chicago kept Dallas, which is one point ahead of Colorado, from clinching the first wild card in the Western Conference on Friday by rolling to a 6-1 home victory. Patrick Kane scored a pair of goals for the Blackhawks, who next will attempt to deny Nashville from claiming its second consecutive Central Division title. The Predators own a one-point lead over Winnipeg and St. Louis heading into the final day of the season, with the division winner slated to face the first wild-card team. Nashville has won four of its last five contests and is coming off back-to-back 3-2 victories, including over Vancouver at home on Thursday in a game in which it trailed 2-0 after one period.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCS Chicago, FS Tennessee (Nashville)
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (36-33-12): Kane increased his career-high point total to 109, joining Denis Savard as the only players in team history to record at least 108 in a season. The 30-year-old Kane is two goals shy of matching the personal best of 46 he scored in 2015-16. Dylan Strome is closing out the season strong as he has notched three goals and two assists over his last three contests.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (46-29-6): Ryan Johansen snapped a tie with 21 seconds remaining in the third period Thursday, giving him a goal in back-to-back contests and points in four of his last five games. The tally against the Canucks was his sixth game-winner of the season, tying him with Viktor Arvidsson for the team lead. The 25-year-old Arvidsson was kept off the scoresheet Thursday, ending his point streak at four games.
1. Predators C Nick Bonino recorded a goal and an assist Thursday for his first multi-point performance since Jan. 21, ending his six-game point drought.
2. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has reached the 80-point plateau (81) for the first time in his career after recording two assists Friday.
3. Nashville signed D Brandon Fortunato and LW Lukas Craggs to two-year entry-level contracts.
PREDICTION: Predators 4, Blackhawks 2