Maple Leafs Cruise Past Blackhawks 7-3
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TORONTO (AP) — Joffrey Lupul and Peter Holland each scored twice to help the Toronto Maple Leafs end a three-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Mason Raymond added four assists for the Leafs.
Tied 1-1 after the first period, Toronto outscored Chicago 4-1 in the second to pull ahead for its first win in regulation time since Nov. 19, a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
The victory also snapped an eight-game losing streak to Chicago going back to February 2003.
Jerry D’Amigo, Nikolai Kulemin and Phil Kessel also scored for Toronto.
Toronto outshot the opposition for just the fifth time this season, holding a 32-28 edge.
It was a big offensive night for the Leafs, who have had to count on their top line of Kessel, Nazem Kadri and James Van Riemsdyk in recent weeks. They had a season-high seven goals against the Stanley Cup champions.
Lupul finished with two goals and two assists while Raymond had four assists and Holland two goals and an assist on a breakout night for the newly assembled Leafs’ second line.
Patrick Kane had two goals and Brandon Saad scored for Chicago, whose league-best offence sputtered on the night.
The Leafs came into the game with just two regulation wins in their past 19 outings.
The Blackhawks entered with a three-game win streak during which they had outscored the opposition 19-6. The Hawks were also 9-0-2 against Eastern Conference opposition (compared to Toronto’s 9-7-2 against Eastern foes).
The game was Randy Carlyle’s 100th as Leafs coach, improving his record at the Toronto helm to 49-40-11.
But Hawks coach Joel Quenneville will have to wait for the victory needed to tie Pat Quinn at 684 on the NHL’s all-time win list. Scotty Bowman leads with 1,244, ahead of Al Arbour (782) and Dick Irvin (692).
Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf returned to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for boarding Boston defenseman Kevan Miller.
However, forward David Clarkson was handed a two-game ban earlier in the day for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka.
The suspensions are adding up for Clarkson, who was banned 10 games for coming off the bench in a preseason game. The two bans have cost him $379,279.58.
Antti Raanta got the start again for Chicago in the absence of the injured Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin.
And the Finnish rookie had to be sharp on the Leafs’ first two shots, close-range efforts from Kadri and Raymond.
It was a poor start for the Blackhawks, who drew three straight penalties in the period. But some indiscipline by the home team later in the period evened the score.
Toronto was on its second power play before Chicago got its first shot on net, some seven minutes into the game.
Holland made the Hawks pay for the Andrew Shaw tripping call, tapping in a Lupul pass across the crease after a nice pass by Raymond at 7:14.
Toronto faced a 58-second 5-on-3 after Raymond was called for tripping behind the Chicago goal while killing off a penalty to Holland.
The Blackhawks scored 29 seconds later when a sprawling Phaneuf redirected Kane’s pass from the side of the net past Jonathan Bernier into the goal at 16:14. It was his 18th goal of the season and marked the eighth straight game Chicago has scored on the power play.
Kane has points in eight straight games and 20 of his past 21.
Van Riemsdyk could have made it 2-1 near the end of the period but, with a good portion of the Chicago goal empty after a pretty passing sequence, he couldn’t connect on a Kessel pass that took a strange bounce.
Toronto had the first five shots of the game, but the shot count was tied at 11-11 after 20 minutes.
D’Amigo made it 2-1 on the Leafs’ 13th shot 42 seconds into the second period when he tucked in a Kulemin rebound that dropped out of Raanta’s glove. It was the first goal of his six-game NHL career.
A Chicago goal minutes later was called off for being directed into the goal by a Hawks hand (and then Phaneuf’s stick).
Holland scored his second of the game at 12:09 of the second period, left to finish all alone after taking a nice pass from Raymond. Kane replied at 13:30, snapping a wrist shot past Bernier after a Toronto turnover in the neutral zone.
But Kulemin restored the Leafs’ two-goal advantage at 14:36, on a low shot from a Jay McClement pass, to make it 4-2.
Lupul increased the lead to 5-2 on the power play, tipping in a Jake Gardiner shot from the point for his ninth of the season at 17:08.
Kent Simpson took over for Raanta at the start of the third period and gave up a goal on his first shot when Lupul, just 28 seconds in, beat him from the faceoff dot after doing some good digging behind the goal.
Holland had a shot at a hat trick, but shot wide on a breakaway. Seconds later, Saad pulled one back for Chicago with a tip-in at 7:38 for his 12th of the season.
Kessel made it 7-3 at 8:35 with a quick shot from the slot for his 17th of the season.
NOTES: Defensemen Mark Fraser and Paul Rangers were Leaf scratches. … Toronto heads to Pittsburgh for a game Monday. The Hawks return home to host Los Angeles on Sunday.
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