The mighty Chicago Blackhawks came into Saturday with a three-game winning streak while the unpredictable Toronto Maple Leafs had lost three in a row. You can cue Chris Berman’s go-to “That’s why they play the game” line, as the Maple Leafs blew the Blackhawks out 7-3 tonight.
Don’t act like you saw that one coming …
Much was made about the Maple Leafs’ uneven scoring coming into this contest, yet The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle captures the turnaround quite well:
Leafs third line has outscored Chicago’s first line 2-0 tonight. Prior to tonight? They had four goals compared to 41 for Sharp-Toews-Hossa.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 15, 2013
One other stat that shows how unexpected this outcome was for many: it’s been almost a decade since the Leafs beat Chicago, as their last win against the ‘Hawks came on Feb. 12, 2003, according to Mirtle.
While the Maple Leafs enjoyed contributions from a variety of players, the Blackhawks probably feel better about acquiring Jason LaBarbera after tonight’s action. Antti Raanta was pulled after two periods of play, giving way to Kent Simpson, whose NHL debut didn’t go swimmingly.
It’s a long season, so upsets can happen. The Maple Leafs showed that tonight, and face a chance to build momentum, as seven of their next 10 games take place in Toronto.