Blackhawks deny Maple Leafs' comeback, hold on for 5-4 win

Paola Ditto
Marzo 17, 2019

The Blackhawks almost blew a five-goal lead, hanging on for a 5-4 win in Toronto in a game that saw the Maple Leafs, trailing 5-1 after 40 minutes, fire 29 shots at replacement goaltender Collin Delia in a third-period comeback that fell just short. Defensively, the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 80.3 percent of their opponents power plays.

Duncan Keith, Brendan Perlini, Dominik Kahun, Brandon Saad and Alex DeBrincat scored for Chicago.

"We put ourselves in a hole and we did our best to come back from it, but too little too late", Toronto's Morgan Rielly said. Collin Delia turned aside 26-of-29 shots as part of a insane third in relief. Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 14 shots in the first before he was replaced by Garret Sparks, who finished with 24 saves.

Chicago dominated from the opening faceoff and went ahead 1-0 at 3:19 of the first period when Keith's shot that was deflected by Nylander, rattled around between Andersen's pads and just slid over the goal line before Auston Matthews could stop its momentum.

The Hawks went up by two with 7:05 left when Perlini cut into the middle and whipped a knuckling puck against the grain on Andersen for his 12th of the season and fifth in the last four games.

"I think the first (period) was a great example of us being really smart - getting pucks back, causing turnovers, scoring off the rush, scoring in transition", Colliton said. "But until I see you're at the top of your game that's not what we're doing".

The 22-year-old forward, who did not play in the Maple Leafs' 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday because of precautionary reasons, has 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) in 68 games for Toronto this season.

Toronto, which beat Chicago at the United Center in a wild 7-6 overtime affair back in October, finally got on the board with 1:33 left in the period when Rielly had his shot deflected in by Johnsson for his 20th.

Rielly then made it 5-3 on the power play when his shot through traffic found its way past Delia with just over 9 minutes remaining before the defenseman hit the post moments later.

Matthews, who was playing the 200th game of his career, brought the Leafs a little closer at 7:57 of the third when he banked his 32nd. Toronto averages just 2.8 per game, the least in the Eastern Conference. "The playoffs have already started, if you ask me". Kane has 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 17 career games against Toronto.

TOP PERFORMERS: Mitchell Marner has recorded 84 total points while scoring 24 goals and collecting 60 assists for the Maple Leafs.

Toronto will have a chance, again, to prove that they've learned their first-period lesson when they host the Philadelphia Flyers Friday night.

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