NHL Power Rankings: Penguins, Predators Improve with Addition of Crosby, Radulov

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NHL Power Rankings: Penguins, Predators Improve with Addition of Crosby, Radulov
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Penguins get Sidney Crosby back during a double-digit winning streak?

The Predators get the best erstwhile KHL player during arguably their best season in franchise history?

I’m just going to do a little victory lap for picking a Preds-Pens final before the year started.

That said, picking those types of things are a crapshoot—and they should be.

That’s why they play the games.

And for all we know, I could have easily picked a Minnesota-Buffalo final and looked like a joker.

Still, let's give a little credence to the prospect of a Nashville-Pittsburgh showdown.

The reason why I picked those two teams at the beginning of the season was because I thought the Pens were going to roll through the East and be considered surefire Cup winners, only to be upset by an upstart, scrappy team…say, Nashville.

After all, the shoestring-budget Predators have made the playoffs six of the past seven years and reached the second round for the first time in franchise history last year.

This year, they went all in, acquiring Hal Gill and reuniting the Kostitsyn brothers.

And voila, they are in position to pass Detroit in the Central Division.

As for Pittsburgh, they’ve got their best player back, have the best point differential in the East and are in position to grab the Atlantic Division—and therefore, the No. 1 seed in the postseason—from the Blueshirts.

This is an experienced, resilient team that will not shrivel under the bright lights of the NHL playoffs. They’ll be considered a bona fide contender as a No. 1 seed—if they aren’t considered that already.

Then again, for all I know, it could be a Boston-Vancouver rematch, and I’ll look like a fool for making a bold pick.

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