Around the Boards: Blackhawks trounce the Leafs 6–2 with Kane stuck at 999

  

The Chicago Blackhawks traveled to the Great White North to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs and they did not waste any time taking the Leafs down for the second time this season. Unlike the 5–4 shootout victory over the Leafs on November 10th, the Hawks had full control of this one from the opening puck drop. Behind a four-point effort from Captain Jonathan Toews, the Hawks took down the Maple Leafs 6–2.

Good ole Eddie Olczyk said the player to watch was Drake Caggiula and within 20 seconds of play, he proved why that was the case. Caggiula scored his fifth goal of the season with an assist from Dominik Kubalik (11) and Connor Murphy (9) and just like that the Hawks were already humming Chelsea Dagger. They would do so two more times in the first period thanks to Toews with his 13th (he would add his 14th in the second period) and Brandon Saad with his 12th, in his first game back in a month. Saad injured his right ankle on December 19th in the 4–1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Patrick Kane got his 999th point with the assist, but alas the 1000th point will have to wait another day.

The Hawks took a 3–0 lead into the second period, but a late penalty by Kane for hooking (18:48) in the first had the Maple Leafs with a one-man advantage and William Nylander scores his 11th goal in 14 games. He ties his career-high 22 and he looks to be a real threat at only 23 years of age. As stated previously, the cornerstone of the Hawks Jonathan Toews says that is cool kid, but I am still here and scores his second of the night to put the Hawks up 4–1. Toronto netminder Frederik Andersen is really having trouble keeping the puck in front of him. Around the 9:02 mark, Kubalik puts the Hawks up 5–1 on the assist from the captain for his third point of the game. Spoiler alert: Toews and Dom will appear in the same paragraph again soon enough.

Toronto pulled within three with a 4:43 goal from Pierre Engvall for his eighth of the season. Alexander Kerfoot dod a great job of using Hawks Adam Boqvist to block Corey Crawford’s view and set Engvall up for the blind goal.

But we are not here for Maple Leaf highlights folks. Come to think of it, this next one might need even be a HOCKEY highlight. Roll footage!

I TOLD YOU THESE TWO WOULD SHOW UP AGAIN! With a little over two minutes remaining in the second period, Toews hit Kubalik with a line drive pass and Dom did not miss this one. Kubalik makes his best case to play in the MLB and not the NHL as he teed off on this one in midair right into the back of the net. Does anybody have the Cubs phone number?! Eddie Olczyk says it is the goal of the night and who am I not to believe the man. No sign-stealing required to set up this dinger.

Hawks headed into the third period up 6–2 and that is the way it stayed. A quiet third for both teams, but Toronto was averaging 3.6 goals a game and Crawford keeps them to only two goal.  Not a bad day at the office for the away team. Crawford saw 33 shots and saves 31 of them so, again, no complaints from the Blackhawks faithful. He improves to 9–13–2 and drops his goal average just hair below 3.00.

Small side note: If you happen to catch the postgame interview with Toews, he has nothing, but respect for every player on his team. He is a man very much aware of his role on the team, but also aware of how important it is to promote and showcase the younger players behind him. Here is what he said regarding his pass to Kubalik in the second: “I was trying to get the puck a foot or two lower on the ice and that was my intention, but I just kind of floated one in there and you know as they say you can’t give a good player a bad pass and I tried my best on that one and he still found a way to get his stick on it.” A veteran who gives credit to the younger players while also remaining a star himself. Have yourself a day, Jon boy.

Like the cult 1993 Disney classic, the Hawks are homeward bound to take on division rival Winnipeg Jets at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Madhouse on Madison. Maybe it will be Saad’s revenge game. Who knows? Hawks have won three in a row and go into Sunday 22–20–6, which is good for fifth in the Western Division. Never say never on a playoff run. Let us know what you think below.

Center Ice Forums Around the Boards: Blackhawks trounce the Leafs 6–2 with Kane stuck at 999

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