Maple Leafs-Blackhawks Preview
Toronto Maple Leafs at Chicago Blackhawks
- Toronto lost, 3-2, to the Hurricanes on Thursday, snapping its three-game winning streak in the process. Despite the setback, the Leafs are still off to their best start (6-2-0, .750) through eight contests since going 8-0-0 to begin the 1993-94 campaign.
- Chicago dropped a 3-2 decision in a shootout with St. Louis on Thursday -- its NHL-high tying third shootout of the season already. Each of the Blackhawks' last six games has been decided by a single tally.
- These two clubs last met on February 29, 2012, with Chicago taking a 5-4 victory over Toronto. The Blackhawks have won a franchise-high seven straight tilts vs. the Maple Leafs overall.
- Joffrey Lupul netted one of the Leafs' markers Thursday, giving him six goals in his last six skates overall. Lupul has four points (1g, 3a) during his current three-game scoring streak vs. the Blackhawks, and has lit the lamp nine times in 16 career games against Chicago overall.
- Marian Hossa had a hand in both of Chicago's goals on Thursday (1g, 1a), and has now lit the lamp in back-to-back games. Including a hat trick on November 30, 2006 (while a member of the Thrashers), Hossa has 15 points (8g, 7a) in his last 10 skates against the Leafs.
- Chicago has a minus-5 third-period goal differential in 2013-14 -- third worst of any team in the league. Toronto has a +2 goal differential in the third stanza this season (10th in NHL).
- Struggling Flames fire GM Feaster
- Hurricanes activate F Semin from IR
- Perry's goal streak at 7, Ducks top Wild
- Jones shines again as Kings' run hits 5
- Blackhawks score 5 in 2nd, chase Emery
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks didn't lose nearly as many players after winning their most recent Stanley Cup than following their 2010 title, but they did trade away the one who scored the title-clinching goal.
Dave Bolland makes his return to Chicago as the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the United Center for the only time this season Saturday night.
Salary cap issues forced Chicago to turn over nearly half its roster after winning the 2010 Cup, but Bolland, Michael Frolik and Viktor Stalberg were the only major players not retained this offseason. Bolland, who scored one of Chicago's two goals in the final 1:16 of Game 6 against Boston, was sent to Toronto for three draft picks June 30.
"Going back to Chicago is a big one," Bolland said. "Being there for (seven seasons) and being with them for two championships, going back to the old stadium will be nice.
"It won't be an easy game against them, but it's going to be fun."
The center has been productive with his new club, totaling three goals and three assists in his first eight games this season. Bolland also has a point in each of his last three contests after recording an assist Thursday against Carolina.
That helped Toronto (6-2-0) build a 2-0 lead after two periods, but the Maple Leafs had a three-game win streak snapped with a 3-2 defeat. The Hurricanes scored their final goal by taking advantage of the Maple Leafs' confusion over the new hybrid icing rule.
Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier, filling in for an injured James Reimer, was standing up when the puck bounced off the boards and his right skate then into the net. Reimer was forced to leave 32 seconds into that game after colliding with teammate Josh Leivo.
"I'm feeling good," Reimer said. "I kind of got my head run over there. The new protocol is you have to come out of the game and so I did. And had a bit of a headache, so the doctors felt it was in my best interest and safety that I stay out for the rest of the game."
Reimer practiced Friday and could be available for this game. If he starts, he'll face a team that's averaged 2.2 goals in the last six games.
The Blackhawks (4-1-2) had the best scoring average in the Western Conference (3.10) and second-best in the NHL in 2012-13.
Chicago couldn't build on a pair of one-goal leads in the first two periods Thursday in a 3-2 shootout loss to visiting St. Louis, ending a three-game win streak. The Blackhawks went 0 for 4 on the power play and are 1 for 16 with a man advantage in the last four games.
"We seem not to have that extra hunger in front of the net," forward Brandon Saad said. "We just need to get to the net more and bury those rebounds. We should be fine."
The Blackhawks have won seven in a row against Toronto and registered a 5-4 victory in the most recent meeting Feb. 29, 2012, at the United Center.
Corey Crawford, who is expected to start Saturday, was pulled after giving up three goals in the first period of that game. Marian Hossa scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and added an empty-netter.
Hossa, who has scored in each of the last two games, has nine goals and seven assists in his last 12 games against Toronto.
Updated October 18, 2013