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Blackhawks host Mitch Marner-less Leafs in Original Six matchup

One of Toronto’s top scoring threats will miss the game after being injured Saturday night.

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Toronto Maple Leafs v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

A pair of teams coming off Saturday night shootout losses will meet at the United Center on Sunday evening when the Blackhawks host the Maple Leafs in an Original Six matchup.

Toronto rallied from a two-goal deficit against the Flyers on Saturday, scoring once in the second and third periods to force overtime before Philadelphia took the second point in the shootout. The bigger news from that result, however, was an ankle injury to Toronto forward Mitch Marner in the second period that will keep him out of the lineup against the Blackhawks — and perhaps longer. After signing a massive contract extension in the offseason, Marner was leading the Maple Leafs with 14 assists and second on the team with 18 points. Auston Matthews tops the list with 13 goals and 21 points, and his contributions figure to be even more vital with Marner out of the lineup.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride through the first month of the season for the Maple Leafs. Toronto won its first two, then lost three, won three of four, lost four of five, then won three straight before Saturday night’s shootout loss. Toronto is keeping pace in the Atlantic Division, just two points behind the Bruins. But a team that was supposed to contend for a Stanley Cup hasn’t quite found its form through the first 18 games. Injuries to forwards John Tavares and Zach Hyman and defenseman Travis Dermott haven’t helped, although goaltender Frederik Andersen has with a 9-2-3 record in his 14 starts. Andersen played against Philadelphia, however, so the winless backup Michael Hutchinson will be in net against Chicago.

For the Blackhawks, lineup changes are also in store, as rookies Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist return to the lineup against Toronto after being held out at Pittsburgh. Robin Lehner is slated to start on the tail-end of a back-to-back following two consecutive starts by Corey Crawford.

It was a strong performance against the Penguins, but Chicago was again unable to hold a two-goal lead, allowing Pittsburgh to pick up both points. Patrick Kane ran his point streak to five games with a goal and Chicago’s penalty kill continued its steady climb up the league rankings with a 3-for-3 performance.

Chicago and Toronto combined for a thrilling game at the United Center last year, and even with Marner sidelined, both teams have the offensive skill to light up the scoreboard in a similar fashion. However it happens, Chicago needs to start racking up points to keep pace in a Central Division that is already doing its best to leave the Blackhawks in the rearview mirror again.

Let’s go Hawks!

Blackhawks — Statistic — Leafs

48.9% (22nd) — Corsi For — 54.3% (2nd)

48.3% (25th) — Faceoffs — 53.1% (3rd)

2.50 (28th) — Goals per game — 3.28 (10th)

2.94 (13th) — Goals against per game — 3.06 (19th)

14% (25th) — Power play — 16.4% (21st)

81.1% (17th) — Penalty kill — 76.9% (24th)



Saad - Toews - Nylander

DeBrincat - Strome - Kane

Smith - Kampf - Kubalik

Caggiula - Dach - Shaw

Keith — Gustafsson

De Haan — Seabrook

Maatta — Boqvist



Maple Leafs

Johnsson — Matthews — Nylander

Moore — Tavares — Kapanen

Mikheyev — Kerfoot — Spezza

Timashov — Shore — Gauthier

Rielly — Ceci

Muzzin — Barrie

Dermott — Holl



How to watch

When: 6 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network

Live stream: NBC Sports app