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For the Columbus Blue Jackets Authentic Brian Allen Jersey , it’s about playoff positioning.

For the Nashville Predators, it’s about fun and tuning up for what they hope will be a long playoff run.

Saturday night’s regular-season finale in Bridgestone Arena can make the difference between a potential first-round series with two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh for Columbus (45-29-7) or maybe falling all the way to a wild card and a matchup with a division champion.

As for Nashville (52-18-11), it took care of its remaining regular-season business in one fell swoop Thursday night. Shortly after clinching the Central Division title and the Western Conference’s top seed with a 4-3 win in Washington, the Predators watched the end of Boston’s 3-2 loss in Florida on locker room TVs.

That assured Nashville of the league’s top regular-season record, which means it will have home-ice advantage for any playoff series. Or to put it another way, if it carries its home games, it will hoist the Cup for the first time in franchise history.

“All year we’ve talked about doing the best we can and it’s always been just about home ice,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “The guys did an incredible job of staying really focused and fairly consistent with their game, and because of it, we sit where we sit.”

Which means Nashville has earned the right to play this game any way it sees fit. It can play to win, it can play some of its mainstays to keep them sharp, or it can rest everyone and basically call up its AHL affiliate from Milwaukee for the night.

Laviolette is tight-lipped under any circumstance, and with the playoffs looming, doubly so. Don’t expect any big pronouncements concerning a lineup until Saturday’s morning skate, if then, but it wouldn’t be surprising if multiple regulars got the “maintenance night” treatment they’ve received during the last month.

“It’s big for the organization,” said right winger Craig Smith, who scored two goals Thursday night. “A lot of guys have put in a lot of hard work and a lot of time to produce a season like that. We’re having fun with each other and holding each other accountable to get out there and play for each other, so it’s great.”

While the Predators can treat this game however they desire, the Blue Jackets are likely chasing the two points. Even though they’ll open the Eastern Conference playoffs on the road J'Mon Moore Jersey , they’re at least in there, clinching despite Thursday night’s 5-4 overtime loss to Pittsburgh.

This will be the first time that Columbus has made consecutive playoff appearances.

“We were the youngest team in the league most of the year,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “If you want to continue to build your organization and find your way and be that team that’s going to be there all the time, you have to experience it. You can’t be in one year, lose in five games and then take two years to be back in it.”

Nashville is looking for a sweep in the season series. It posted a 3-1 win on Nov. 7 in Columbus, scoring two goals in the last five minutes.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — As the Chicago Bears prepare for a prime-time season opener against Aaron Rodgers and the archrival Green Bay Packers, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky sees a team with no limits.

He’s not talking about the opponent, either.

The Bears come into the matchup at Lambeau Field on Sunday night with a decidedly different outlook after changing coaches, overhauling the receivers group, and pulling off a huge trade last weekend to add two-time All-Pro Khalil Mack to their defense.

But for all the big moves they made, there are still some big questions. Topping the list is whether the quarterback they drafted with the No. 2 overall pick last year can develop the way general manager Ryan Pace envisions.

“I feel a lot more comfortable in my role,” Trubisky said. “I feel a lot more comfortable with the offense and what I need to do. And having more responsibility on my shoulders and just being more of a leader this year and more vocal and having guys look at me.”

He insisted the “sky’s the limit” and that he has “very high goals” for himself and the team.

The Bears hired Matt Nagy to replace John Fox, fired after a three-year run that produced a 14-34 record and the second-lowest winning percentage in franchise history. Besides hiring an offense-minded coach, they gave Trubisky some new targets.

They signed former Jacksonville Pro Bowl receiver Allen Robinson and brought in former Philadelphia tight end Trey Burton and receivers Taylor Gabriel and rookie Anthony Miller.

They believed they were already setting themselves up for bigger things after four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North. The trade for Mack took the buzz to another level.

“We’re lucky to have him,” Trubisky said. “We’re happy to have him, and just from the first couple of days he’s been here, just how he carries himself and how he wants to work, how he wants to affect this game and be a part of this team, it’s going to be great for this team and this organization to have a guy like that.”

Trubisky said he was still sleeping when “someone” came into his room and told him Patriots Jason McCourty Jersey , “You guys just got Khalil Mack.” His response: “Get out of here. Like, leave me alone, I’m going back to sleep.”

That “someone” was his mom, who was in town last weekend.

Mack’s arrival could turn a defense that ranked 10th overall a year ago into one of the NFL’s best. That should mean good field position on a consistent basis for the offense. But with higher expectations after the blockbuster trade, there could also be more pressure on Trubisky.

“It’s not gonna change how Mitchell plays,” Nagy said. “He’s worried about himself and how he controls that offense.”

Trubisky threw for 2,193 yards in 12 games last season. But he had as many interceptions as touchdowns (seven). And his 77.5 rating was not much better than Mike Glennon’s (76.9).

Even so, there were some promising flashes. His command of the huddle impressed the Bears. It stood out to Packers coach Mike McCarthy, too.

“I like the way Mitch carries the game,” McCarthy said. “It’s just watch the way he reacted when he was given his opportunity. … You could see his growth throughout the season, and that’s what you look for in all young players.”

With five straight non-winning seasons and just one trip to the playoffs since the 2006 team’s run to the Super Bowl, the Bears are looking for more. And as big as the trade for Mack was, Pace’s reputation still largely hinges on the development of the quarterback he drafted last year after trading up a spot.

For now, there are still some big questions about Trubisky, the offense and how it will all come together.

“I have a really good idea of what this offense looks like and where we’re at and how we need to go about our business and execute our plays,” Trubisky said. “The more of the mystery is what (the Packers are) going to run on defense.”

NOTES: LB Leonard Floyd (broken right hand) said this wouldn’t be the first time he has played with a casted club. He did it in college, too. Floyd broke his hand at Denver on Aug. 18. … Rookie LB Roquan Smith (tight left hamstring) said he feels “a lot better,” though he has “no clue” how much he will play Sunday.
 
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