This one was about as predictable as it gets. The high-flying Maple Leafs took it to the Blackhawks for 60 minutes, winning 5-2 at Scotiabank Arena.
William Nylander opened the scoring just nine seconds into the game, as it looked like the Blackhawks’ defense controller died.
Sam Lafferty answered right back for the Blackhawks, tying the game 1:02 into the first period.
Seven minutes later, the Leafs would strike again, when Rasmus Sandin’s harmless shot deflected off of Connor Murphy’s stick and behind Petr Mrazek. 3:07 later, the Leafs would strike yet again. Auston Matthews scored his 26th goal of the season after Nylander walked around Patrick Kane, feeding the puck to Matthews who quickly got off a wicked wrister.
The Blackhawks opened the scoring in the second period, as Philipp Kurashev buried a pass from Max Domi just 46 seconds into the frame, cutting Toronto’s lead to 3-2.
Leafs captain John Tavares scored his 24th of the season seven minutes later after Mrazek mishandled a puck behind the net. Alex Kerfoot centered the puck to Tavares, who didn’t miss.
16:40 into the second period, Conor Timmins made it 5-2 Toronto with a beautiful and perfectly placed point shot through traffic and past Mrazek’s stick.
Let’s hope you took the over
When I saw DraftKings’ over-under of 6.5, I thought it was the biggest no-brainer bet ever. Turns out, I was right.
The game had four goals 11 minutes into the game, and the over was hit 16:40 into the second period. The Blackhawks were playing shorthanded, on the end of a back-to-back, against one of the highest powered teams in the NHL. They entered tonight’s game in Toronto as massive underdogs, as the Maple Leafs were statistically the biggest favorite in NHL history tonight. DraftKings had the Leafs at -575. Lesser sportsbooks not worth mentioning had their number as high as -610.
Paging Patrick Kane…
As we watch Blackhawks games at the CHGO Sports studios, I’m constantly checking in on the live box score/event summary. I gave it a look 15 minutes into the second period, and Patrick Kane was a minus-one with zero shots, zero shot attempts, zero missed shots, zero giveaways, zero takeaways and zero blocked shots. Not exactly the showcase performance some trade-hungry Maple Leafs fans and media were hoping for. When the game ended, things didn’t look much better. Kane ended with four shots, one more shot attempt, and two giveaways.
Jonathan Toews, Alex Stalock, Jarred Tinordi head to IR
Before the puck dropped on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks announced that Jonathan Toews, Alex Stalock and Jarred Tinordi were placed on injured reserve. Toews and Stalock, as their IR dates are retroactive to February 7 and January 16, respectively, can return as soon as Friday. Per the NHL’s rule, Tinordi would first be eligible to return on February 22.
As if there wasn’t enough concern around Toews’ future with the team, and IR stint because of a “non-COVID illness” has to be a massive red flag for teams interested in trading for the Blackhawks’ captain. It would be irresponsible to credit this long illness to Toews’ chronic immune response syndrome that forced him to miss the entire 2020-2021 season, but it has to be on the mind of general managers around the league.