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Toosie Slide: Blackhawks 4, Maple Leafs 1

Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks handed the Toronto Maple Leafs their first loss of the season, defeating the regular-season juggernaut 4-1 at Scotiabank Arena Monday night.

The first period may have been scoreless, but it wasn’t without its moments. Unsurprisingly, Connor Bedard had the Blackhawks best offensive moments of the period.

The main event was the fight between Connor Murphy and Noah Gregor. Murphy took offense to this “hit” by Gregor on Nikita Zaitsev, though really this was just an instance of ice being slippery.

The Blackhawks got the scoring started about three minutes into the second period courtsey of MacKenzie Entwistle. Andreas Athansiou picked up his own rebound from below the red line and fed Entwistle in the slot for the goal.

The Maple Leafs tied the game 1-1 a little over a minute later. William Nylander dangled through Blackhawks players before setting up Tavares with a backhand pass, the latter of which went top shelf for the goal.

Toronto seemed to take over the period for the next 10 minutes with Arvid Söderblom and the Blackhawks defense core needing to be in top form to keep the score even.

Then, at the 14:46 mark of the middle frame, I gagged a little as Corey Perry scored on the breakaway to make it 2-1, setup by an incredible stretch pass from Alex Vlasic.

Tyler Johnson put the Blackhawks up 3-1 with 2:55 left in the second period on a rush play with Athansiou while on the power play.

The Maple Leafs really turned it up in the third period, desperately trying to stave off defeat. It got a little dicey for the Blackhawks, especially on the play in which Nick Foligno lost a skate blade and Toronto might have had numbers back. However, a flailing Foligno and Jason Dickinson put just enough pressure on Mitch Marner to cause the Leafs to misplay the zone entry and force them to regroup in their own zone.

Söderblom had quite a few saves in the final frame of the game to keep the game 3-1, perhaps none as impressive as this toe save on Tavares with 3:05 remaining.

It looked like the Blackhawks were going to go up 4-1 with 59.9 left off an empty net goal by Taylor Hall, but it was called back after the Leafs challenged for offsides.

Then the Leafs had their own goal overturned for being offside with what was thought to be 6.2 seconds remaining. However, with the goal reversal, the clock reset to 51 seconds.

Finally, a goal was scored in the final minutes that counted: Taylor Raddysh with a long shot into the empty net, and the Blackhawks won 4-1 against the Maple Leafs.



  • After the listless game against the Canadiens, the Blackhawks showed up better prepared in Toronto, especially in the first two periods. The Leafs still touched the puck more, but the Blackhawks kept the scoring chances (21-19), and especially high-danger chances (9-8), pretty even at 5-on-5.
  • The Leafs continued the puck possession dominance in the third, but the Blackhawks limited them to just two high-danger chances by location despite Toronto pushing hard. Now, the Leafs had their way with the Blackhawks power play at one point, putting up three scoring chances, but the Blackhawks weathered that storm as well as can be expected.
  • Despite some big names on their blue line, the Leafs haven’t been any better defensively to start this season, and the Blackhawks took full advantage of that with quick transition plays. The Blackhawks didn’t spend much time in the offensive zone, but they made up for that by having solid chances off the rush and breakaways consistently throughout the game. That won’t work on every team, but taking advantage of the weaknesses of the opponent is always good.
  • The Murphy fight was pointless. I’m not against standing up for a teammate, but at least let it be over something dirty — not because Zaisev is Fumbles McFumblson — and especially not when Bedard’s line is in the offensive zone.
  • Kevin Korchinski picked up his first NHL point, a secondary assist on T. Johnson’s goal, but he had a strong game tonight. It’s not unexpected that he would shine in a game in which skating was key to much of the play.
  • The power play finally scored a goal after going 0-for-14 in the previous three games, and they’re now 1-for-18. Baby steps.
  • Vlasic has been solid defensively in the three previous games — not perfect, but a good streak going — but he showed some offensive skill tonight. Not only was that stretch pass to spring Perry a beauty, but he had a handful of other passing moments that resulted in scoring chances for the Blackhawks. Also of note, the pass assist came at the end of a long shift for Vlasic, making it all the more impressive with his accuracy in that moment.
  • Kaiser, who had an extremely impressive pre-season, hasn’t been as strong in the real games so far, and he had more rough patches tonight. It’s hard to tell if he’s just having rookie jitters or if him being forced to play with the stale loafs known as Tinodi and Zaitsev is impacting his play. Again, it’d be much better with someone like Isaak Phillips up here manning that bottom pairing with Kaiser but c’est la vie.
  • Söderblom has a really good game in net. His rebound control is was iffy, but the team in front bailed him out well, and he was otherwise big when needed. He made 36 of 37 saves, over 70 percent of which were considered scoring chances by location.
  • Tell me if you’ve read this before: Bedard’s line was the only one that was positive in term of shot metrics. Still not sold on Donato being the best option as the winger on that top line — someone like Athanisou or T. Johnson might be more suited.
  • Athanisou certainly doesn’t need to be toiling on the fourth lines as he started tonight. He should have Raddysh’s place on the second line, especially when Philipp Kurashev comes back, so we can see them both with Lukas Reichel again.
  • Look, I made the argument after his acquisition that Perry would be useful, but rooting for him is still loathsome (for his actions on the ice, not as a person — I’m sure he’s a nice guy), so I’ll be happy for his contributions to the Blackhawks while making a sour face. It’s the best I can do. Also, he apparently was not pointing at a Toronto fan after his goal:
  • There should be a statute of limitations of like 20 seconds max for a goal to reviewed for offsides imo. Even though it worked in the Blackhawks favor here, it’s kind of ridiculous Matthews’ tip goal was called back almost a minute after the reviewable play.
  • The Hall offsides is fine in theory — they claimed he wasn’t in full control of the puck, which is probably true — but a similar (though even more so) questionable possession call was made in favor of the New York Islanders game on Saturday. It’s the inconsistency that is an issue here, not the call itself.
  • The Blackhawks schedule doesn’t lighten up over the next couple of weeks, but tonight showed they make things interesting even against arguably better opponents. That’s all we’re looking for really in this transition season.

Game Charts

Three Stars

  1. Arvid Soderblom (CHI) — 36 saves (.973 SV%) on 37 shots
  2. Andreas Athansiou (CHI) — 2 assists
  3. Alex Vlasic (CHI) — 1 assist, first NHL point

What’s Next

The Blackhawks wrap up their first road trip of the season Thursday in Colorado, taking on the Avalanche at 9:30 p.m.

Talking Points