Zawaski’s Shorties: Leafs Play Slumpbusters To Blackhawks

By Jay Zawaski–

(CBS) It was the worst team in hockey against one of the best. You’ll never guess how it ended up.

The Blackhawks ended their three-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, a victory that included a four-goal explosion in the third period.

Chicago got goals from Brandon Mashinter, Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook, Artemi Panarin, Teuvo Teravainen, Viktor Svedberg and Patrick Kane, who tallied four points. Kane now has eight points in two games against Toronto this season.

Here are the shorties of the night.

The Falling of the Leafs: The Maple Leafs, as they have so many times this season, played slumpbuster again. Do you think coach Mike Babcock is missing Joe Louis Arena right about now? I bet he spends his nights tossing and turning on his gigantic bed of money.

The Leafs are so far from competing, it’s almost scary. How can the league’s marquee franchise be so abysmal for so long? The “good” news for Leafs fans is that the tank is fully underway. I’d expect them to move nearly every expensive asset they have at the deadline. They need picks and prospects badly. Aside from Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner, the Leafs should look to move as much roster baggage as they can.

Life without Hossa: With Marian Hossa out for the Blackhawks, Richard Panik was the first player to get a look on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Shaw. He didn’t look out of place, necessarily, but I’m not sure he convinced me that he deserves to stick there.

I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that Teravainen didn’t get a look there. I’m starting to get concerned that the Hawks are considering trading the young forward. Broadcasters Eddie Olczyk and Pat Foley have ramped up their “Teuvo sucks” banter. On Monday, Foley criticized Teravainen’s lack of output, which is valid criticism, but he also commented that Teravainen has had plenty of looks on the top six. That, of course, isn’t true. He’s spent most of the last month-and-a-half playing with Andrew Desjardins and Phillip Danault.

Teravainen broke his 17-game scoreless streak with a late third-period power play goal. With Hossa out, it’s time to give him some time on the top line. Maybe he hasn’t quite “earned it,” but for his own good, he needs to get out of this offensive rut.

Marko Da-NO: It appears as if Marko Dano will spend the entire season in Rockford. When Hossa went down with an injury on Saturday, everyone knew the Hawks would be calling up an offensive-minded right winger. Instead of Dano, Vincent Hinostroza got the call.

I’m not sure what this means for Dano’s future with the team. It could mean the Hawks want him to develop at the AHL level. It could mean that coach Joel Quenneville has already soured on the young winger. Let’s hope that’s not the case. At the time of the Brandon Saad deal that brought him to Chicago, Dano appeared to be the centerpiece of the swap. Artem Anisimov’s solid play has made most forget about Dano, but his absence and lack of call-ups concern me.

If there’s hope for Dano, it’s that Quenneville has been much more willing to live with young players mistakes this season. Let’s hope Dano gets the same treatment.

Kane is able: Kane is the NHL’s best player. There’s little doubt about that at this moment. His dominance is like something out of the 1980s. He has 34 goals and 48 assists in mid-February. That’s where Kane is right now. He has a 19-point lead on the Jamie Benn, the league’s No. 2 scorer. If Kane remains healthy, 100 points is almost a certainty — almost as certain as Kane’s Hart Trophy win.

Powerful play — The Hawks scored four of their goals on the power play Monday, and for the first time in years, the Chicago power play is performing. Special teams can be the difference in a playoff series. It seems like the Hawks have found the winning formula on the power play.

Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 The Score and the Blackhawks columnist for CBSChicago.com. He also hosts a weekly podcast with James Neveau of NBCChicago.com that you can listen and subscribe to here. Follow him on Twitter at @JayZawaski670.

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