By Scott Taylor
Series E: Chicago Blackhawks (50-23-9, 109 points) vs. Nashville Predators (41-29-12, 94 points)
When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, they started their run by eliminating the Nashville Predators in six games. They’d certainly love to do it again and likely will. The Hawks got better as the season went along and by the time the final game was played, this was the best team in the West.
Led by veterans Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa and goalie Corey Crawford, this is a professional hockey team that loves the post-season. This was Toews 10th season in the NHL. The 28-year-old captain has won three Cups with Chicago since 2010 and he’s favored to come out of the West again this year.
Nashville, a team that dealt Shea Weber to Montreal in order to acquire P.K. Subban, had a really solid year. The key to the Preds success is stopping the opposition from scoring and with goalie Pekka Rinne (2.42 GAA and .918 save percentage) between the pipes, there is always a good chance that will happen. Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg each had 31 goals and led the offense.
Players to Watch:
Nashville: P.K. Subban, Pekka Rinne and Viktor Arvidsson
Chicago: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith
Season Series: Blackhawks won 4-1.
Our Choice: Chicago in five games.