The Chicago Blackhawks will play their 70th game of the season tonight on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs. These two teams last met way back on October 7th, which was just the third game of the year for both teams. That game really foreshadowed how the Blackhawks entire season would go as Toronto scored seven goals against the weak defense.
Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews had a little bit of back and forth action in the last meeting. With a little under 1:30 left in the third period, Kane scored with the extra attacker out to tie the game up at five. Just 22 seconds later though, Matthews would give the Leafs the lead right back to silence the crowd. Matthews figured he had scored the game-winning goal, and celebrated with his hand up to his ear in an “I can’t hear you” manner. Patrick Kane would have something to say about this, and he would once again tie the game with his second goal in 55 seconds. Kane would go on to mimic the celebration and all Matthews could do was sit on the bench and smile.
Auston Matthews makes it 6-5 and silences the crowd. Patrick Kane makes it 6-6 and mimics the celebration. Matthews grins on the bench pic.twitter.com/l4nTOFgCzu
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) October 8, 2018
Matthews and the Maple Leafs would get the last laugh with the overtime win, but it was an exciting game that would mimic many games the Blackhawks played this season. The offense was good enough to keep the ‘Hawks in the game, but the defense wound up being too poor to win.
Another Shootout Tonight?
Luckily for the Chicago Blackhawks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ defense will be without a couple of their top defensemen tonight. Travis Dermott will not play with a shoulder injury and Jake Gardiner is out with a bad back. That forces Martin Marincin and Igor Ozhiganov into the lineup, and they will be paired together on the 3rd unit tonight. The Blackhawks managed to put up six goals against the Leafs’ last meeting, and hopefully, they will have success tonight against a banged-up defense.
#Leafs lines at morning skate (vs. Chicago tonight):
Kapanen – concussion
Dermott – shoulder
Gardiner – back
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) March 13, 2019
On the flip side, it seems like every time the Blackhawks take on a top team their defense gets exposed. Shoot, they allowed the last-place Ottawa Senators to score seven goals in a game. The Maple Leafs have the fourth-highest goals per game average and also have the league’s seventh-best powerplay. The Blackhawks have one of the worst defenses in the league, and they have had the worst penalty kill for months now. The defense has been better in the past two games, but they face a tough test tonight on the road in Toronto.
Let’s see if the Blackhawks defense can hold up against one of the NHL’s best offenses.