It’s going to be tough for Chicago sports fans to figure out what to watch on Monday night. Mitch Trubisky will be making his much-anticipated debut with the Bears, the Cubs host the Nationals for Game 3 of the NLDS, and the Blackhawks take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
We wouldn’t blame you for clutching the TV remote all night trying to watch all three. Trubisky kicking ass on Monday Night Football would give Bears fans fever dreams. The Cubs, well, they’re the Cubs.
But here at Second City Hockey, we’ll still be focused on hockey, and fortunately we have an absolutely awesome matchup Monday night.
The Blackhawks’ first two games this season showed that GM Stan Bowman’s offseason overhaul might’ve been a stroke of genius. The team is playing at a fierce pace and outscored two prime Eastern Conference contenders, 15-2, in its first two games. Yes, both the Pens and Blue Jackets were playing backup goalies in the second leg of back-to-backs, but this early in the season, it felt like Chicago was making a statement.
Now comes another chance to show the NHL the Blackhawks are back, and it comes against a team looking to take the throne as hockey’s next great franchise. The Maple Leafs are another high-scoring bunch that’s been regularly compared to those Blackhawks teams in the late-2000s, on the brink of several Stanley Cup runs. Will Toronto reach its potential in that way? It’s a long road from “could be amazing” to actually winning three Stanley Cups, so we’ll have to wait and see.
These are two big-time offenses that’ll be playing at a blazing pace Monday night, so don’t be surprised if there are a ton of goals.
The Blackhawks will have some lineup changes worth noting. Anton Forsberg, the backup goalie making his Hawks debut, should be in for a real challenge. If he can play well against Toronto on the road, it would be a stellar way for him to start his career in Chicago.
The team will also be without center Nick Schmaltz as he recovers from the upper-body injury suffered Saturday. Artem Anisimov steps in as the No. 2 center, with Tanner Kero on the third line and Tommy Wingels on the fourth line.
|F1||Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik|
|F2||Ryan Hartman - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Patrick Sharp - Tanner Kero - Alex DeBrincat|
|F4||Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook|
|D2||Michal Kempny - Connor Murphy|
|D3||Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta|
|F1||Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle|
|F2||Marcus Foligno - Mikko Koivu - Tyler Ennis|
|F3||Jason Zucker - Joel Eriksson EK - Chris Stewart|
|F4||Daniel Winnik - Matt Cullen - Gustav Olofsson|
|D1||Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon|
|D2||Jonas Brodin - Mathew Dumba|
|D3||Kyle Quincey - Mike Reilly|
How to watch Blackhawks vs. Maple Leafs
Start time: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
TV: NBC Sports Chicago