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Inside The Rivalry: Chicago Blackhawks

There are rivalries, and then there are teams that you just absolutely hate. I’ll let you guess which one the Blackhawks are.

Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If there is one team that gets under the skin of the Predators’ faithful, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago, as of late, has really irritated a lot of Nashville fans over the past few years. Whether it’s their slew of agitators on the roster (see ya Andrew Shaw), or the fans passing out in the first period due to too much alcohol consumption, the fact remains that Nashville fans will forever hate Blackhawks’ fans.

Perhaps what makes it even worse is the fact that Chicago has won three cups over the last seven years. Talk about fans coming out of the woodwork.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at what made this series great last year!

Record vs. Chicago Last Season: 2-3-0

Best Player From The Series Last Year

This was a tough one only because there weren’t any players that were consistent in all five games against the Hawks. When you look at it, the Predators had a decent amount of players play well against Chicago.

You had the big guns such as James Neal and Filip Forsberg, both of which stepped up huge in the 5-1 blowout win over the Blackhawks. Then you had the role players like Eric Nystrom and Ryan Ellis who contributed nicely to the series.

For me the, I will go with James Neal. He only ended up with two goals in the series, but he has always seemed to play really well against Chicago. Let’s not forget the hat trick he put on them his first year in a Preds’ uniform. I would expect Neal to have another solid year against the Hawks this season.

Best Game From Last Year

For me, it came down to two choices. The 5-1 drubbing of the Hawks in December, and the 3-1 win over them in late February. I decided to go with the February 25th tilt against them. I mean after all, we are picking best game, and not best beat down, am I right?

The game was already a big one due to playoff implications and seeding that late in the season. It was a slow start with neither team able to find the back of the net in the first period. That wasn’t due to the lack of effort though. Both goalies made some very impressive saves to keep the game scoreless.

Brent Seabrook broke the tie early in the second to give the Blackhawks the lead. It wasn’t too long after that Viktor Arvidsson tied things back up for the Predators. Both teams traded more chances, but the second period ended in a tie.

The third period was a tightly played one as both team struggled to get anything past the goaltenders until late in the game. Cue Calle Jarnkrok. He scored with under two minutes left to play in the contest to give the Preds a huge lead, late. Nashville then went onto add an insurance marker as Miikka Salomaki scored an empty netter to seal the deal for Smashville.

It was a tense battle, but Nashville ended up with the win and two huge points at the time.

Best Moment From Last Year

There are always a lot of great moments when Nashville takes on Chicago. For me though, it had to be this huge save by Pekka Rinne on Jonathan Toews.

This was the best moment for me because of how important that save was, not only in the game, but in the season as well. Rinne had been struggling all year long, so for him to get a huge save on an elite player was a big deal. I believe that save gave Rinne his groove back to finish the season strong.

Bold Prediction For The 2016-2017 Season

These two teams will square off five times this year. My bold prediction is that the Predators with hold Patrick Kane to two points or less in those five games. I think the revamped defense of Nashville, and a revitalized Rinne will keep Kane in check all year long.

Bonus Bold Prediction: P.K. Subban will acclimate quite nicely in the Central Division. I believe he averages two points a game against the Blackhawks this year. Book it! (Or not. I am usually way off on my bold predictions. Gotta win one eventually, right?)