The improving Chicago Blackhawks are headed in the right direction, although their latest win was a wild ride.
Brendan Perlini had a goal and two assists, Brandon Saad added a goal and an assist, and the visiting Chicago Blackhawks held on to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Wednesday night.
Duncan Keith, Dominik Kahun and Alex DeBrincat also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won four in a row.
The Maple Leafs trailed 5-0 before scoring four consecutive goals, including three in the third period, when they took 30 shots.
"We played really well in the first period and most of the second", Chicago head coach Jeremy Colliton said. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had to leave the game due to an illness and was replaced by backup Collin Delia. Collin Delia turned aside 26-of-29 shots as part of a insane third in relief. "But first and second (periods), I think we did some good stuff". Going into Wednesday's game with the Maple Leafs they had hit the over 27 of 32 times, and the five they didn't, three of those were a push.
Over their last dozen games, the Maple Leafs must sort out their first-period blues, get healthy - especially on the back end - and hope like heck that they've done enough to secure home ice advantage in round one.
The Hawks made it 5-0 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the middle period when DeBrincat roofed a shot past Sparks for his 38th.
Toronto finally got on the board with 1:33 left in the second when Rielly, who on Tuesday was cleared of uttering an alleged homophobic slur in the Tampa game, had his shot deflected in by Johnsson for his 20th.
Playing the 200th game of his career, Matthews brought the Leafs a little closer at 7:57 of the third when he banked in his 32nd.
"I tried that early if you remember, I tried to put the line back together, they weren't ready to go", said Babcock after practice in Vegas on February 13. The Leafs were also minus Zach Hyman (flu), and defencemen Jake Gardiner (back) and Travis Dermott (shoulder). Toronto averages just 2.8 per game, the least in the Eastern Conference.
LAST 10 GAMES: Flyers: 6-3-1, averaging 3.6 goals, 6.3 assists, 3.2 penalties and seven penalty minutes while giving up 3.1 goals per game with a.908 save percentage.
Toronto will have a chance, again, to prove that they've learned their first-period lesson when they host the Philadelphia Flyers Friday night.
The Maple Leafs put 29 shots on net in that final 20 minutes, leaving them one shot shy of being the eighth National Hockey League team to ever put 30+ shots on goal in a single period.