1. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets might not have been a Penguins’ rival a few years ago, or even last season, but this team has come a very long way. Columbus made the biggest jump last season, coming from the bottom of the standings up into playoff contention.
The Pittsburgh Penguins knocked the Blue Jackets out of the playoffs, though, earlier than Columbus would have liked. Pittsburgh, in an effort to defend their title, sent Columbus packing in the first round. In fact, it was nearly a sweep if the Blue Jackets didn’t grab the one win when they did.
The Blue Jackets have made some changes in the offseason and they’re expecting, like the Rangers, to come back stronger than ever. Columbus wants to win and they want to have their rematch with the repeat Cup champs; this time the Blue Jackets will look to dominate the Pens.
The excitement about all of this means the Penguins are becoming a stronger team, despite picking up some more enemies along the way. These kind of rivalries give us more exciting games and make a big Penguins victory that much sweeter.
The Blue Jackets are going to come in to this season playing hard and they’ll play even harder when they’re facing off against the Penguins. Pittsburgh won’t take it so easy, though, and they’ll rise high and hard to take on the challenge.