Rapid Reaction: Leafs 7, Hawks 3
December, 14, 2013
By Mark Polishuk | Special to ESPNChicago.com
TORONTO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 7-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
How it happened: After scoring 19 goals over their previous three games, the Blackhawks got the high-scoring tables turned on them against the Leafs. Chicago was sloppy in most facets of the game, allowing Toronto to consistently move the puck inside the Blackhawks' zone and generate good scoring chances. The Hawks again struggled with a man down, giving up two goals in four penalty-killing situations. Slow starts to periods were also a problem for Chicago -- the Blackhawks picked up three penalties in the first nine minutes of the game, and allowed the Leafs to score in the opening minute of both the second and third periods.
What it means: The goaltending situation that had looked so solid in the hands of third-stringer Antti Raanta is suddenly again a question mark. Raanta gave up five goals on 25 shots and was pulled after two periods, as Kent Simpson made his NHL debut on clean-up duty in the third. Newly acquired Jason LaBarbera will provide some veteran relief in net while the Blackhawks wait for Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin to get healthy.
Player of the game: Patrick Kane did his best to keep the Blackhawks in it, scoring his 18th and 19th goals of the season. Kane's first came in somewhat odd fashion during a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period, as he was seemingly attempting a pass that Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf got a piece of, but accidentally tipped the puck into his own net. In the second period, Kane capitalized on a poor Leafs back-pass to steal the puck and fire a wrister past Jonathan Bernier.
Stat of the game: It was the second time this season Chicago has given up seven goals in a game, with the first coming in a 7-2 loss to Nashville on Nov. 16. The Blackhawks have now given up five or more goals six times this season.
What's next: The Blackhawks are immediately heading home to the United Center for a game against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night, then completing a tough stint of three games in four nights with a road date against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.