For the majority of the third period, it looked like the Blackhawks were going to blow yet another third-period lead. But a late goal helped Chicago hang on for a thrilling 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs on Sunday night at the United Center.
Chicago dominated the play early on. A little more than five minutes in, Patrick Kane’s attempted centering pass ricocheted off Toronto’s Cody Ceci and into the Maple Leafs’ net for an early 1-0 Chicago lead.
Later in the first period, Kirby Dach scored the second goal of his career — and the first one he scored while using his stick — to double Chicago’s advantage.
And thanks to a faceoff victory on the ensuing draw, Kane made it a 3-0 Blackhawks lead, 10 seconds after Dach’s goal.
William Nylander briefly halted the Hawks momentum with a goal at the 16:29 mark of the first, but Jonathan Toews restored Chicago’s three-goal lead with a power play tally just 59 seconds after Nylander’s goal.
A mostly uneventful second period kept the score at 4-1 Chicago. But these are the 2019-20 Blackhawks, which meant the third period had to be a roller-coaster ride. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson was responsible for two of the biggest lows on that ride, with one turnover leading to Toronto’s first goal of the third period and Nylander’s second of the night.
Then, a Gustafsson penalty put Toronto on the power play. The Maple Leafs seized the opportunity:
Gustafsson earned some mild redemption a few moments later, when he tied up John Tavares in front of the Chicago net, preventing the Leafs captain from potentially tying the game with the net gaping. That denied chance led to a Chicago rush the other way, with Drake Caggiula moving the puck to Toews, who moved the puck to Brandon Saad, who found the back of the net for the eventual game-winning goal.
Andreas Johnsson added another power play goal for Toronto with 41 seconds remaining, but Chicago held on for from there for the win. Specifically, goaltender Robin Lehner held the fort, making FIFTY-THREE saves in the victory.
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 2 goals, assist
- Robin Lehner (CHI) — 53 saves
- William Nylander (TOR) — 2 goals
The Blackhawks have two days off before heading west to face the Golden Knights on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.