Nashville Predators: These five teams are the Predator’s biggest rivals?

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks

Let’s be honest, before you even clicked on this article you already knew who was going to be number one. The Chicago Blackhawks is Nashville’s biggest rival and it is not even close. Just like St. Louis, the Blackhawks have also been in the central division since 1998. Nashville and Chicago have a ton of history together, but it would not be until recently that this rivalry really took off.

For the better part of the first 10 years of the Nashville Predators’ existence, the Blackhawks were bottom feeders in the central division. Then in 2007, two players joined the Blackhawks that helped turn the organization around in a big way. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews began their careers, and their rookie years was the only season they did not make the playoffs. Two years later in 2009, Marian Hossa teamed up with them and Chicago asserted themselves as one of the best teams in the league.

That 2009-10 season Nashville made the playoffs, but lost to Chicago in the first round. The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup. The next two years Nashville finished ahead of Chicago in the standings, but they were unable to make it past the conference semifinals on both occasions. We all know what happened next in the lockout shortened 2013 season. Nashville did very bad, whereas Chicago won another Stanley Cup.

After a two-year playoff hiatus, Nashville qualified once again in 2015. Their first round opponent? The Chicago Blackhawks. Just like the previous playoff meeting, Nashville lost the series 4-2, and Chicago added to their trophy case, winning their third Stanley Cup in six years. Nashville and Chicago had met in the playoffs twice in history, and both times Chicago wound up winning the ultimate prize. So when Nashville got paired up against Chicago in the most recent playoffs, Chicago fans were pretty excited. It didn’t last long.

The Predators entered the playoffs as the lowest overall seed. Chicago came in as the number one seed in the Western Conference. Nobody told Nashville that, though; they swept their division rival surrendering only three goals in the process. A rivalry that seemed pretty one-sided up to this point, just got a whole lot better. Nashville is a legitimate threat to Chicago, and that only intensifies this rivalry that much more.

Next: Mount Rushmore of Predator's Players

Chicago has now lost in the first round in back to back seasons, meanwhile Nashville is now the team competing for Stanley Cups.