NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Nashville Predators return to the ice on Thursday night for the start of a season unlike any in franchise history. 

The Preds will host the Columbus Blue Jackets in front of a largely empty Bridgestone Arena, as the NHL navigates a shortened 56-game regular season in the midst of a global pandemic. 

The league has been realigned into four divisions. The Preds remained in the Central Division for the new season, but will compete for a playoff spot against realigned teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes. 

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The top four teams from each division will secure a spot in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The puck drops at 7 p.m.. Smashville can watch the game at home on Fox Sports Tennessee. 

For Thursday's game, families of the players/staff will be in attendance as well as some "Hometown Heroes."

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