Believe it or not, the Nashville Predators have been one of the most consistently successful teams in the NHL in recent memory. Since the last pre-lockout season of 2003-2004, the Preds have made the playoffs for six of the last seven seasons under steady head coach Barry Trotz.
Their lone season out of postseason play was a 10th place finish in 2008-09, in which they were eliminated in the final weekend of the season.
Essentially, Nashville has been playing meaningful hockey since 2003. Few teams in the league can make the same claim. Unfortunately though, that success has fizzled come playoff time.
All five playoff visits have been first-round losses. That's not to say they were vastly inferior teams. They clearly weren't (with the exception of 2004 as a No. 8 seed vs. Detroit), so the plucky Preds are always a threat once the puck drops.
Next up this season for Nashville are the Anaheim Ducks, who found themselves leap-frogging half of the playoff teams in the final weekend of the season to gain home ice as the No. 4 seed, while Nashville takes on the familiar role of underdog as the No. 5 seed.
Both teams were among the hottest in the league over the last 10 games, with Nashville earning 15 points over that span and Anaheim reeling in 14.
So, with the Preds' ghosts playoffs past fresh in the minds of the fans, here are some reasons to believe this year can be different in Nashville.