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Blackhawks fall 5-2 to Predators in season finale

Chicago coughs up 2-0 lead in Nashville.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks allowed five unanswered goals in a 5-2 loss to the Predators in their season finale Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Chicago finishes the season with a 36-34-12 record and 84 points and misses the playoffs for the second straight year. Nashville, meanwhile, won the Central Division title for the second consecutive year and will face the Dallas Stars in the first round of the playoffs.

Brendan Perlini and Drake Caggiula scored for the Blackhawks in the first period. Cam Ward, who was playing in back-to-back nights, made 45 saves on 49 shots in what could be his final NHL game.

Chicago allowed 40 or more shots on goal 22 times this season compared to only 12 times last season.

Filip Forsberg and Nick Bonino each had a goal and an assist for Nashville. Dante Fabrro scored his first NHL career goal. Viktor Arvidsson and Colton Sissons also found the back of the net. Pekka Rinne made 31 stops on 33 shots in the win.

Alex DeBrincat won a puck battle against Fabbro and slipped the puck to Dylan Strome, who found Perlini for the opening goal from the left faceoff circle just 2:58 into the game to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.

Patrick Kane threaded a pass between all five Nashville skaters to Drake Caggiula, who ripped a one-timer from the slot for a 2-0 lead at 10:07 of the first.

Dan Hamhuis blocked a clearing attempt then Forsberg dropped a pass to Fabrro, who fired a wrist shot past Ward’s glove side for his first career NHL goal at 9:07 of the second to make it 2-1.

As the Blackhawks’ penalty expired, Forsberg blasted a slap shot from the blue line by Ward’s blocker side, tying the game 2-2 with 1:10 left in the second.

Arvidsson set the Predators’ single-season goal record with 34 when he scored the game-winner on the power play just 3:33 into the third.

DeBrincat had a chance to tie it with about 4 minutes left when Toews sent a pass to DeBrincat but his shot hit off Ellis’ skate instead of the wide-open net.

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

SCH’s 3 stars

  1. Filip Forsberg (NSH) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  2. Cam Ward (CHI) — 45 saves
  3. Viktor Arvidsson — Game-winning goal on power play