One team is rich in history. The other just starting to write their story. But, the rivalry between the Nashville Predators and Blackhawks is one to watch.
Tension has been building between the two teams for many years. One team with a history that rivals the best in other sports. The other team is growing right before our eyes. And now, after a playoff sweep, the tide may be turning in the rivalry between the Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Now, let me be clear: the Blackhawks own the Predators in terms of head to head record, with 55 win and 38 losses. However, the scoring between the teams is only separated by four goals: 304 for Chicago, 300 for Nashville.
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Every team in the Western Conference knows the truth: the road to the Stanley Cup goes through Chicago. It is just the way it is right now. The Blackhawks have made nine straight playoff appearance, winning the Stanley Cup three times. In five of those appearances, they made it to the Conference Finals.
But, in the last two seasons, they lost in the opening round.
Tale of the tape
That said, it proves something that we in Smashville have said all along. This is a hockey city. Yes, the atmosphere we create is much like what you see from Cameron Indoor Stadium with the fans of the Duke Blue Devils. Tons of cheering and chants throughout the game. It is hockey! It is supposed to be fun!
And, yes, we build up our fans through events like bashing a Blackhawks painted car with a sledgehammer. Nothing wrong with that either. We get on Twitter and banter with Blackhawk fans. With their history, being around for 91 years and winning six Stanley Cups, you can have a bit of arrogance about things.
However, they know about Nashville. They are talking about Nashville. And, now they are being featured against Nashville on national television. Twice.
The truth of the matter is this: General Manager David Poile saw what the Blackhawks were doing and hired Peter Laviolette. He built the Nashville Predators with beating the Blackhawks in mind. It is starting to work.
The line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson proved to be a challenge for the Blackhawks’ defense in the playoffs, and in the season’s final battle between the teams. The JoFA line accounted for 50% of the goals in the sweep of the Blackhawks. The rest of the Predators will need to step up to turn this rivalry into a battle for the division crown.
With this trio and several other Predators signed for several years, the series against the Blackhawks will be highly contested. And fun to watch.
So, with that, I say, bring it on!