Even though they had just played the Hurricanes the night before, the Chicago Blackhawks exploded onto the ice in Toronto like a team with a purpose. Just over a minute into the 1st period, Marian Hossa snapped a wristshot past James Reimer and the Blackhawks took an early lead. Leafs fans barely got a chance to register the goal when Michael Frolik took a feed from Troy Brouwer and buried it into the net. The two goals quickly deflated Leafs momentum, and before the period was up, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was able to pad the lead with a snapshot with less than 5 minutes to go. The goal extended Toews’ point streak to 9 games.
The second period saw a lone Leafs goal from Joffrey Lupul, but that was answered by 2 Chicago goals by Stalberg and Bickell.
The Blackhawks exited the ice after the second period with a comfortable 5-1 lead.
But true to form, once the third period started, the Blackhawks appeared to rest on their laurels, taking several penalties and allowing the Leafs to narrow the deficit to 5-3. After being hauled down on a breakaway, Mikhail Grabovski was awarded a penalty shot but couldn’t capitalize. The last goal, a nasty slapshot from Luke Schenn, came with a little over 1 minute left to go in the game.
Despite giving up a 4-goal lead, the Blackhawks managed to hang on to claim the victory and have now secured a fourth place ranking in the Western conference. The Leafs on the other hand, are 4 points out of 8th in the East, chasing a playoff berth for the first time since 2004.
The Blackhawks get a couple days off before facing the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The game is expected to be a relatively easy win but their following games against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning and Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals will pose to be more of a challenge. But as long as the team employs the same explosive energy and offense as they have been in their past few games, the Blackhawks are sure to rest easy in the rankings.
About the Author
Written by Anna Santiago
26-year old sports writer from Calgary, Alberta. A hockey and basketball lover above all.