No. 6: Nashville Predators
The ‘Hawks match up really well against the Nashville Predators. The Blackhawks play a brand of hockey that can exploit the Preds’ game easily. The Preds like to sit back and play a more defense-oriented game, which makes for games that become snoozefests. When the ‘Hawks are on — which happens every postseason — they tear apart their play and do not let the Preds score. However, when the ‘Hawks are off, they get blown out. The series between these two teams last season went 4-2 ‘Hawks, but in the two losses, the ‘Hawks lost by a combined margin of six goals.
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The two key factors for the Preds will be Pekka Rinne and Filip Forsberg. For Rinne, he is simply one of the best goalies in the league. However, this season he has been down a bit, as he only has a save percentage of .909. But when Rinne is on, he is almost unbeatable. For Forsberg, he is a 21-year-old who scares me so much. He is the leading scorer on the team with 52 points and he is a quick skater. In his first playoff experience last season, he had six points through six games. Four of those points were goals as well. If both of these players play up to what they are capable of, this will be a tough series for the ‘Hawks to get out alive from.
Next: No. 5: Colorado Avalanche