Did it seem like it was going to be bad?
Was it bad?
The Chicago Blackhawks were routed by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, losing 5-2 in Ontario.
Toronto scored the first goal of the game so fast that beat reporters in the building were tweeting about it before the puck dropped on TV broadcasts in the Chicago area — at least the one this author was watching. Jake McCabe blew a tire, opening a direct path to the net for William Nylander. He obliged, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead just nine seconds into the game:
what a feed from Rielly pic.twitter.com/EB8keANAAv— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 16, 2023
Sam Lafferty tied the game up 53 seconds later, though:
Sam Lafferty responds for Chicago 53 seconds later. What a start. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/ggJFbm1rQS— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 16, 2023
The next two goals went to Toronto, making it a 3-1 Maple Leafs’ lead before the first intermission. Rasmus Sandin scored first, with an unintentional assist from Connor Murphy:
Rasmus Sandin’s shot goes off Connor Murphy’s stick and in. Tough break. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/lM7rsDBBHZ— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 16, 2023
Then Auston Matthews tallied a goal in his return to the lineup:
He's back. pic.twitter.com/1fZ7c9PjyM— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 16, 2023
The Blackhawks made it interesting in early portions of the second period, starting with this Philipp Kurashev rocket of a one-timer just 46 seconds into the second period to make it a 3-2 game:
Kurashev pic.twitter.com/KKEv6icCHk— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 16, 2023
About seven minutes later came the backbreaker, though, as Petr Mrazek missed a puck behind the net, leaving a golden opportunity for the Maple Leafs which was capitalized upon thanks to a nifty pass from Alex Kefroot to John Tavares for an easy one-timer into the net:
John Tavares scores against the Chicago Blackhawks to make it 4-2 #TORvsCHI #LeafsForever #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/q1RgnA1x4z— nopClips (@nopClips) February 16, 2023
Conor Timmins scored later in the second to make it a 5-2 game and Toronto cruised the rest of the way.
- A personal favorite part of this game was during the second intermission when the panel talked about being let down by the performance of the Blackhawks in this game. THEY’RE BAD! THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE BAD! THEY’RE NOT TRYING TO WIN GAMES THIS SEASON! THIS IS THE POINT! WHY DON’T PEOPLE IN HOCKEY MEDIA UNDERSTAND THIS?!
- A neat one-timer goal from SCH staff favorite Kurashev, which again feels like something he’s certainly capable of doing more often and sometimes it’s disappointing that he doesn’t do things like that more often. He’ll probably be around for another season or two — at least — so the hope is that he continues to improve as the team around him improves as well (fingers crossed). That goal does move Kurashev to a new career-high with 22 points in 53 games, so there are definite signs of progress here.
- Excellent timing on the part of Lafferty to score a goal in front of the team that could come calling for him at the trade deadline.
- Perhaps not an ideal place for it but any NHL debut feels like a good NHL debut for a sixth-round draft pick who didn’t sign with the team that drafted him. Cole Guttman has been skating well in Rockford this season and played 12:09 in his first NHL game this evening, notching a shot on goal. Coach Luke Richardson seemed to not mind the rookie’s performance:
Luke Richardson on Cole Guttman's NHL debut: "I thought he played with smart hockey players and they did some good things out there and I thought he was very responsible. For his first game, in Toronto, on the big stage, I thought he did really well."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 16, 2023
- There’s something extremely annoying about the Maple Leafs, in general. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it probably has something to do with the unearned platform they own in the hockey world despite being absolute trash for the last 50 years. Because the Hawks only play them twice a season it’s easy to forget, but one evening watching Chicago play in that stadium now has me hoping the Tampa Bay Lightning sweep their asses in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an aggregate score of 31-2.
- It’s the Alex DeBrincat revenge game on Friday. Should be terrible!
#NHL GameScore Impact Card for Chicago Blackhawks on 2023-02-15:#Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/bwwv7zytwb— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) February 16, 2023
- William Nylander (TOR) — 1 goal, 2 assists, still inferior to Michael
- Auston Matthews (TOR) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Rasmus Sandin (TOR) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks finish this tour of Canada against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night at 6 p.m.