Toronto at Chicago
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Sunday, December 21, 2014
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
After tumbling to two straight losses following a season-high six-game winning streak, the Toronto Maple Leafs look to get back on track when they open a seven-game road trip against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Peter Holland and James van Riemsdyk each scored in Toronto's 7-4 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday and also tallied in the Maple Leafs' 3-2 victory over Chicago on Nov. 1. His team's offensive contributions notwithstanding, James Reimer was the star of the latter contest - making 26 of his 45 saves in the third period - and may get the nod on Sunday after a brief relief appearance versus the Flyers.
While Toronto's performance left a great deal to be desired on Saturday, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was fairly pleased with his team's play despite the 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus. "I thought we did everything but win that game (Saturday). We played well in all areas of the game," Quenneville said. The Blackhawks are 10-1-1 in their last 12 and will vie for their eighth consecutive home victory on Sunday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHLN, CITY, TVA (Toronto), WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (19-11-3): Although it struggled against sputtering Philadelphia, perhaps Toronto will fare better against powerhouse Chicago. The reasoning? Well, the Maple Leafs are 14-3-2 this season versus teams with a record above .500, as opposed to a 5-8-1 mark against the others. Coach Randy Carlyle isn't interested in Toronto's play against specific opponents, rather its performance itself. "Our execution level with our group is way down," Carlyle said. "The overall execution of the simplest things was way down."
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (22-9-2): Corey Crawford made 17 saves in his return to the lineup after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. "I felt pretty comfortable," Crawford told ESPN Chicago. "I didn’t get much work in the first half of the game. I was seeing the pucks pretty well, (except for) a tip and a screen on the goals." Patrick Sharp scored his second goal in three games and led the team with seven blocked shots.
1. Chicago RW Patrick Kane has scored three goals and set up four others during his five-game point streak and has torched Toronto for five tallies and as many assists in eight meetings.
2. Toronto has lost three of its last four on the road.
3. The Blackhawks have killed off eight straight power plays in the last three games and 14-of-15 in the last seven.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 5, Maple Leafs 4
Stats and Records