Predators have had ups and downs but they'll push the Blackhawks


Forget the fact that the Nashville Predators didn't have their most consistent season. Forget the fact that the Blackhawks won the season series 4-1, the Predators' lone victory being P.K. Subban's debut with the team in October. Forget the fact that Pekka Rinne didn't have his best season.

Here's what you need to remember: The Blackhawks have taken two previous postseason series from the Predators but neither was easy. This one won't be, either.

The Predators-Blackhawks series in 2010 and 2015 were reminders that you don't need seven games to have great nail-biting drama. And while the two teams are at opposite ends of the standings entering this first-round series, the Blackhawks' desire for another Stanley Cup will be matched by the Predators' drive to play spoiler.

The Blackhawks and Predators were the No. 2 and 7 seeds, respectively, in the 2010 first round. Didn't matter that the Blackhawks collected the most regular-season points in franchise history (112). The Predators took Game 1 on United Center ice, scoring four unanswered goals in the third period. From that point on you knew it was going to be a frenzied series, and it was. From Antti Niemi's two shutout victories to the Predators' 4-1 response in Game 3 to Marian Hossa's Game 5 overtime winner after the Blackhawks killed off his five-minute penalty, the series was memorable.

The same goes for 2015, when Corey Crawford's bad Game 1 led to Scott Darling's coming-out party and sparked a mini-goaltending controversy – until Crawford came in for Darling to win Game 6 and the series. And who would've guessed Colin Wilson would have given the Blackhawks their biggest fits? Sure, Wilson was a 20-goal scorer that regular season, but five goals in six games? He was maddening for the Blackhawks. As was Duncan Keith for the Predators. His Game 1 double-overtime winner started a tremendous postseason for the defenseman that would culminate in a unanimous Conn Smythe nod.

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So you catch our drift here when it comes to the Predators. They're going to give the Blackhawks all they can handle because that's just what they do. And hey, if you do want to reference this regular-season's series, it's true that each game was close. Even their second meeting of the season, a 5-2 Blackhawks victory that was a 2-2 game in the third period before Ryan Hartman's very unique hat trick.

Something weird happening in a Preds-Blackhawks game. Imagine that.

The Predators' matchup with the Blackhawks was set on Saturday night, after the Winnipeg Jets scored a late-regulation goal to beat them. It was another example of the inconsistency the Predators have shown this season. Again, forget about it. It's the postseason, and if the history of two previous series can teach us anything, it's that the Predators will push the Blackhawks as they always do.

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