Viktor Arvidsson completed the comeback — and set a franchise record in the process — as host Nashville scored five unanswered goals to beat Chicago 5-2 on 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.
Jets 4, Coyotes 2
Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor collected a goal and an assist as visiting Winnipeg posted a win over Arizona in both teams’ regular-season finale at Glendale, Ariz.
Nikolaj Ehlers and defenseman Jacob Trouba also tallied, and Connor Hellebuyck made 19 saves for the Jets (47-30-5, 99 points), who recorded just their second win in their last seven games (2-4-1).
Winnipeg, which finished second in the Central Division, will have home-ice advantage when it faces St. Louis in the first-round of the playoffs. Nashville’s victory over Chicago earlier on Saturday ended the Jets’ bid to claim the Central title.
Blues 3, Canucks 2 (SO)
Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron scored goals in a shootout as host St. Louis beat Vancouver.
The Blues (45-28-9, 99 points) briefly moved into first place in the Central Division, but the Predators wound up as division winners for the second straight season after defeating Chicago. St. Louis was in last place in the NHL on Jan. 3 but finished in third and has become the hottest team in the league since then. They will face second-place Winnipeg (47-30-5, 99 points) in the first round of the playoffs.
The Canucks, who will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year, completed 2018-19 with a 35-36-11 mark for 81 points.
Lightning 6, Bruins 3
Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each scored to reach career milestones as visiting Tampa Bay matched an NHL record with their 62nd victory, a win over Boston.
The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning (62-16-4, 128 points) equaled the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings’ mark for single-season wins. They also posted the fourth-most points ever in a season and became the second team in league history to win 30 road games.
While the Lightning rested key performers Brayden Point and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, Stamkos posted his 45th goal for a career-high 98th point, and Kucherov scored his personal-best 41st goal as the visitors scored four straight to erase a 2-0 deficit. Kucherov, who added an assist, finished with an NHL-leading 128 regular-season points — the most by a Russian-born player in league history.
Canadiens 6, Maples Leafs 5 (SO)
Ryan Poehling scored three goals in regulation, including the tying goal in the third period in his NHL debut, then added the winner in a shootout as Montreal ended its season by defeating visiting Toronto.
Jordan Weal and Andrew Shaw each had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who had been eliminated from the playoffs. Nicolas Deslauriers and Artturi Lehkonen each added two assists.
Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist for Toronto. Jake Gardiner, Trevor Moore, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen also scored for the Maple Leafs, who will face the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.
Blue Jackets 6, Senators 2
Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice as Columbus defeated host Ottawa in the regular-season finale.
The Blue Jackets, who had already clinched one of the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths, hoped to gain the top wild-card slot and avoid Tampa Bay in the first round of the postseason. But those hopes were dashed when Carolina beat Philadelphia to edge the Blue Jackets (47-31-4, 98 points) by one point in the standings.
Markus Nutivaara, Alexandre Texier, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Riley Nash also scored for the Blue Jackets, and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 27 saves.
Sabers 7, Red Wings 1
Jeff Skinner scored twice to reach the 40-goal mark and Buffalo closed out its season with a thumping of host Detroit.
Rasmus Dahlin supplied a goal and an assist. Sam Reinhart, Conor Sheary, Zemgus Girgensons and Brandon Montour also scored for the Sabres (33-39-10, 76 points). Linus Ullmark made 23 saves.
Skinner reached the 40-goal mark for the first time in his nine-year career. He also had 32 even-strength goals this season. That gave him the most even-strength goals by a Sabre since Alexander Mogilny (49) in the 1992-93 season.
Devils 4, Panthers 3 (OT)
Travis Zajac scored a power-play goal 56 seconds into overtime as New Jersey defeated host Florida.
Nathan Bastian, a 21-year-old who was New Jersey’s second-round pick in 2016, scored twice for the Devils and now has three career goals in seven NHL games. Pavel Zacha scored New Jersey’s other goal, and 22-year-old rookie Mackenzie Blackwood made 37 saves.
The Panthers got goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman in the final four minutes to send the game to overtime. Aleksander Barkov also scored for the Panthers. It marked his 35th goal of the season, and he set the franchise record with his 95th point to break the previous record set by Pavel Bure (94) in the 1999-2000 season.
Hurricanes 4, Flyers 3
Jordan Staal scored the go-ahead goal in the second period as visiting Carolina completed a season sweep of Philadelphia.
Staal joined Teuvo Teravainen in collecting a goal and assist for the Hurricanes (46-29-7, 99 points), who clinched the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and will face Metropolitan Division champion Washington in the first round of the playoffs.
Warren Foegele and defenseman Justin Faulk scored for the second consecutive contest, Brock McGinn notched a pair of assists and Curtis McElhinney made 28 saves in the win.
Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)
Ryan Strome scored on a wrist shot from the left dot at 2:09 of overtime to give visiting New York a win over Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh’s playoff lot came down to Saturday’s results on the final night of the regular season. The Penguins (44-26-12, 100 points) finished third in the Metropolitan Division and will be the road team in a first-round series against the New York Islanders.
Brendan Smith, Brady Skjei and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored for the Rangers, who are out of the playoffs and finished 32-36-14 for 78 points. Goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves.
Islanders 3, Capitals 0
Valtteri Filppula, who missed the previous eight games due to injury, scored twice and goalie Robin Lehner stopped all 29 shots he faced as New York clinched home-ice advantage in the playoffs for the first time in more than 30 years with a win over host Washington.
With the win, the Islanders (48-27-7) locked up third place in the Metropolitan Division and home ice against Pittsburgh for a first-round postseason series. It is the first time New York has held home ice since the 1987-88 season, which was the longest active home drought among the four major North American sports leagues.
The shutout also ensured the Islanders would allow the fewest goals in the league after allowing the most last season, when they missed the playoffs by 17 points. Lehner’s shutout was his career-high sixth and the team-record 11th of the season.
Stars 3, Wild 0
Tyler Seguin scored twice in the first nine minutes of the third period, and that’s all goaltender Ben Bishop needed as Dallas defeated visiting Minnesota to clinch the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot.
The Stars (43-32-7, 93 points) are in the postseason for the first time since 2016 and enter the Stanley Cup playoffs as the seventh seed in the West. Dallas won five of its final seven games and will play Nashville, the Central Division champion, in the first round, with the schedule to be determined.
The Wild (37-36-9, 83 points) won only four of their final 14 games and missed the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. Minnesota was shut out 11 times this season and managed only 24 shots in the loss.
Oilers 3, Flames 1
Leon Draisaitl’s 50th goal of the season was overshadowed by Connor McDavid sustaining an injury early in the second period as visiting Edmonton beat Calgary.
McDavid was driving to the net when he was tripped up by Flames captain Mark Giordano and went crashing into the post, his left shin taking the brunt of the force. He remained on the ice for several minutes and didn’t put any weight on his leg as he was helped to the dressing room. Giordano was assessed a tripping penalty on the play.
Edmonton took advantage of the ensuing power play with Alex Chiasson netting his 22nd goal of the season. Flames goalie Mike Smith couldn’t contain Oscar Klefbom’s point shot, and Chiasson pounced on the loose puck for the eventual game-winning goal.
Kings 5, Golden Knights 2
Ilya Kovalchuk scored two goals and Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist to lead host Los Angeles to victory over Vegas.
Jeff Carter and Matt Roy also scored goals for Los Angeles, which finished last in the Western Conference for the first time since 2007-08 with 71 points and a 31-42-9 record. Dustin Brown added a pair of assists.
Jonathan Quick finished with 29 saves to pick up his 309th career victory, fourth best among U.S. born goaltenders in NHL history. Quick, pulled after giving up seven goals on 25 shots in a 7-2 loss to Calgary in his previous start on April 1, finished the season with a 16-23-7 record.
Sharks 5, Avalanche 2
Even before the opening faceoff of its road loss to San Jose, Colorado knew its fate as hopes of claiming the first of two Western Conference wild-card playoff berths were dashed when Dallas defeated Minnesota earlier in the evening.
That means Colorado (38-30-14, 90 points) will play Calgary, who finished second in the President’s Trophy race behind Tampa Bay. The Sharks (46-27-9, 101 points), who finished second in the Pacific Division, will face Vegas in the first round of the playoffs.
Evander Kane and Gustav Nyquist each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who won for just the third time in their last 12 games (3-8-1). Brent Burns, Kevin Labanc and Micheal Haley also scored, Tomas Hertl notched two assists and Martin Jones made 28 saves.
—Field Level Media