In the second game of a back-to-back, the Toronto Maple Leafs made the trip to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. After the Maple Leafs smashing a 5-1 victory over the Canadiens the night before, the blue and white dropped this one 5-3 to Chicago. Despite some ups and downs in this one, it was ultimately a night the Maple Leafs would want back.
The opening period of this one was fairly back and forth. The Chicago Blackhawks definitely had the better first ten minutes, leading the shot totals six to one. After testing Samsonov several times, Blackhawks star Patrick Kane opened the scoring. Chicago forward Max Domi dropped a pass for Patrick Kane, who wristed one right over the glove of Ilya Samsonov. The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead 10:44 into the period as Patrick Kane scored his 12th goal of the season.
Once the Blackhawks took the lead, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally started to find their groove. After some offensive-zone pressure from the blue and white, Auston Matthews drew a penalty which sent the Leafs to the power-play. On the man advantage, Maple Leafs captain John Tavares scored his 25th goal. A floater from Morgan Rielly was redirected by the Maple Leafs star in front, and was it ever a beauty. The Maple Leafs tied the game at one apiece at the 12:52 mark.
Once the game was tied at one, both teams began trading chances with each other. However, neither side could find a way to take advantage. Blackhawks goaltender Jaxson Stauber stood strong, while Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov made some key stops. After a very evenly matched period, the game was tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
As the second period got underway, the Maple Leafs started off strong. A few good looks on Jaxson Stauber were turned aside early. However, after the Maple Leafs’ good start, Chicago opened up the scoring in the middle frame.
Blackhawks star Patrick Kane scored a brilliant goal for his second of the game, giving Chicago a 2-1 lead. Patrick Kane showed excellent patience on his goal, as the Blackhawks forward made Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov commit to the shot early before sliding it through Samsonov’s legs. The Blackhawks star scored his 13th goal 7:57 into the period.
Once Chicago retook the lead, the Blackhawks didn’t stop there as Patrick Kane scored yet again! The 34-year-old forward scored his third of the game, banking a shot from behind the Maple Leafs goal on Ilya Samsonov. The goal was initially deemed as no good but was eventually turned over after review. Chicago took a 3-1 lead 10:49 into the middle frame.
After the Blackhawks went up by a pair, the Maple Leafs started to get back into it. After constant offensive-zone pressure, the Maple Leafs finally broke through. Newly acquired Maple Leaf forward Noel Acciari scored his 11th goal of the season in only his second game. The 31-year-old forward buried a loose puck in the Blackhawks crease after a beautiful play by Maple Leafs forward David Kampf. The Blackhawks lead was cut to one late in the middle frame.
Entering the final period of regulation with the Maple Leafs down 3-2, Leafs nation was hoping for a quick and energetic start. However, it was the opposite of what Maple Leafs fans wanted. The Blackhawks were dictating play early and even drew a penalty on Toronto. Once the Blackhawks power-play chance was over, the blue and white started to find their legs again.
Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly made a beautiful heads-up play, setting up Mitch Marner to tie the game at 3-3. The 28-year-old Maple Leafs defenseman fired a blast off the boards in the Blackhawks zone, which then sent Mitch Marner in all alone on Jaxson Stauber. Once Marner corralled the puck from the bounce off the boards, the 25-year-old Leafs forward took it on his backhand, sliding it around Jaxson, scoring his 20th goal of the season.
After the game was finally tied, the Chicago Blackhawks broke through Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov yet again. This time it was Cole Guttman scoring his first National Hockey League goal. The 23-year-old Blackhawks forward came in off the rush and wristed one up high on Samsonov. The Blackhawks youngster gave Chicago the lead 4-3, 11:42 into the final frame.
Once the Blackhawks scored their fourth, the Maple Leafs started to put pressure once again. A few close opportunities for Mitch Marner and Ryan O’Reilly arose but couldn’t be capitalized. The Blackhawks shut the door after their fourth goal, giving Guttman the game-winning goal. Blackhawks forward Max Domi added an empty-net goal securing the Blackhawks victory 5-3.
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