In something that has been a rarity recently for the Chicago Blackhawks, a loss sits next to tonight’s box score.
Another rarity, an opposing team dominating the Blackhawks. That is what the Toronto Maple Leafs did, as the Leafs rolled past the Hawks en route to a 7-3 victory.
From the start, there seemed to be a lack of motivation from the Blackhawks, whose three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night, and they could not recover from an early 2-1 deficit.
For the Hawks, this game must be put behind them as they have a quick turnaround Sunday when they return home to play the Los Angeles Kings.
TORONTO , ON – DECEMBER 14: John-Michael Liles of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets beat by Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Leafs started out the scoring close to seven minutes into the game as Peter Holland poked in a rebound and slide the puck past Hawks rookie goaltender, Antti Raanta to go up 1-0.
There was a glimpse of hope for the Hawks on Saturday night as the Hawks’ were on a five-on-three power play and forward Patrick Kane slipped the puck off of Leafs’ defenseman Dion Phaneuf and into the net. Kane’s goal tied the game at one and extended his point streak to eight games.
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But that would be about it for the Hawks as the Maple Leafs scored six more goals during the game and ended up getting Raanta pulled and replaced by fellow rookie Kent Simpson. Simpson did not look any better as he gave up the final two goals.
Kane added another goal for his 19th of the season and brought his point total to 44, which puts him in second place in the NHL. Brandon Saad also added a goal, but clearly the offense was not in sync, either was the goaltending.
Although Raanta is now 5-1-1 on the season, the Hawks need some experience to help him through games like tonight. That is why General Manager Stan Bowman announced earlier Saturday morning that the Blackhawks would receive veteran goaltender Jason Labarbera from the Edmonton Oilers to give some depth to the goalie position.
Labarbera is by no means the solution to some of the problems that surfaced Saturday night. But the Hawks need to understand that every team is going after them every single night, and no team can be taken lightly. The Hawks need to put this shaky performance behind them and get back at it, even stronger tomorrow night.
The Hawks will return home Sunday night to face the L.A. Kings at the United Center. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m. (Central) and can be seen on Fox Sports-West and WGN.
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