For the first time since November 2009, the Chicago Blackhawks have won eight games in a row. The Hawks scored three in the first period and another two in the second. Toronto attempted to comeback, but could only close the gap to two goals.
Jonathan Toews scored a goal to extend his points streak to nine games and the Chicago Blackhawks won their eighth straight game, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Saturday night.
Marian Hossa, Michael Frolik, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell also scored for Chicago. The defending Stanley Cup champions took a 3-0 lead in the first period, a night after a 5-2 home victory over Carolina.
Joffrey Lupul, Joey Crabb and Luke Schenn replied for Toronto, 10-3-4 since the All-Star break. The Maple Leafs had earned at least a point in nine straight games.
With Toronto chasing its first playoff berth since 2004, the fans were amped up at Air Canada Centre – at least for the opening minute. Shortly after, Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson turned the puck over to Marian Hossa, who beat James Reimer for his 18th of the season at 1:10.
The Blackhawks didn’t let up, extending their lead to 3-0 when Frolik finished off a 2-on-1 at 4:13 and Toews converted a pass from Patrick Kane with 3:23 left. The Chicago captain has eight goals and 15 points during his nine-game run.
Lupul briefly restored some hope for the home fans by intercepting a pass at his own blue line and beating Corey Crawford high at 7:28 of the second period, but Stalberg and Bickell scored before the intermission to bring an early end to Reimer’s night.
Reimer was replaced by Jean-Sebastien Giguere to start the third period after allowing five goals on 19 shots. Reimer was tagged with his first regulation loss since Feb. 5.
The Leafs pushed hard to get back in the game in the final 20 minutes.
After Crabb scored at 4:26 on a play where the puck took a couple strange bounces, Mikhail Grabovski was hauled down on a breakaway. He made a nice deke that was denied by Crawford, who followed that up with a nice breakaway save on Mike Brown.
Schenn scored in the final minute.
NOTES: Stalberg began his NHL career in Toronto before getting traded last summer. … It was Reimer’s 12th appearance in the last 13 games. … Maple Leafs forward Jay Rosehill was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game. … The Blackhawks donated one a Stanley Cup ring to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Saturday afternoon.
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