The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped a four-game winless streak with a 3-2 win in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Maple Leafs winger William Nylander was sprung for a breakaway by Auston Matthews and Nylander went backhand five-hole with the deke to slide the puck past Chicago goaltender Kevin Lankinen.
The break followed a point-blank scoring chance for Blackhawks defenceman Seth Jones that ended up going wide and it ignited the Maple Leafs’ counter-attack.
Blackhawks score first
Chicago got on the board at 5:44 of the first period when Kirby Dach used his reach to gain a step on Jake Muzzin on a power-play zone entry and snapped a shot past the glove of Maple Leafs netminder Jack Campbell.
A soft neutral zone pass by Maple Leafs defenceman Justin Holl led to a quick counter attack from the Blackhawks. Seth Jones found Alex DeBrincat streaking in alone and DeBrincat buried it under the crossbar for a 2-0 Blackhawks lead at 11:48 of the first period.
Toronto finally found the net at 6:14 of the second period. John Tavares took a Mitch Marner pass on a rush attack and put a backhand over Kevin Lankinen’s glove.
Former Blackhawks centre David Kampf tied the game at two at 12:31 of the third period. Kampf received a pass from Rasmus Sandin in the slot and beat Lankinen with a backhand to the stick side.
Chicago had chances to put the game away but did not.
Jonathan Toews hit the post less than a minute into the third period.
Alex DeBrincat dangled around Maple Leafs defenceman T.J. Brodie and put a backhand deke off the post.
The Maple Leafs were lucky to keep the deficit within one. MacKenzie Entwistle had a shorthanded breakaway and tried a backhand five-hole deke with 5:50 remaining in the third but Campbell appeared to get a piece of the puck, sending it wide. DeBrincat had another close-in chance 40 seconds into overtime, but Campbell came up with the stop.
Campbell finished with 27 saves on 29 shots for the victory. Chicago’s Kevin Lankinen turned away 37 of 40 shots in the loss.
Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews, under fire for slow starts offensively, tied for the lead with 11 shot attempts. Marner finished with seven shots on goal while Matthews had three. Both ended up with an assist in the game.
Chicago drops to 0-5-2 on the season, a terrible start that has now been overshadowed by even worse news coming from the recent investigation into their coverup of sexual assault allegations in 2010.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are heading home for the next five games with a 3-4-1 record. It has undeniably been a difficult stretch for the Maple Leafs but they may be able to take some positives by rallying from a two-goal deficit to earn this victory. It should be clear, though, that not all is right with the Maple Leafs just because they beat the Chicago Blackhawks. Every team is doing that these days.
More analysis and quotes from media availability coming to ToHN shortly.
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