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Chicago Blackhawks (23-6-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (16-14-3)

December 14th, 2013 at 3:18 PM
By Andrew McIntyre

The Chicago Blackhawks are in Toronto, Canada tonight as they get ready to take on the Maple Leafs. The Blackhawks have won three in a row, scoring 19 goals in those games. The Maple Leafs have lost three in a row and eight of their last 10. This is the second and final meeting between the teams. The Blackhawks won the first meeting 3-1 on October 19 in Chicago

Here are some notes for tonight's game:

  • The Blackhawks have scored six or more goals in three straight games. This is the first time they have done this since 1993. The Blackhawks currently lead the NHL at 3.68 goals per game.
  • Blackhawks defenseman Michael Kostka is expected to be in the lineup tonight against his former team. Former-Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland is still a long way from returning but does not require crutches or a cane anymore after injuring his ankle.
  • The Blackhawks record the second-most shots on net at 33.4 per game. The Leafs give up the most shots at 36.6 per game.
  • Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has his left pinky finger taped as he suffered an injury to it a couple days ago. He said it's not broken but it will be interesting to see if it hinders his play at all tonight.
  • Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf will be back in the lineup after being suspended for his hit on Kevan Miller. The Leafs captain has two goals and 10 assists in 31 games this season.
  • Leafs forward David Clarkson has been suspended two games for his hit on Vladimir Sobotka. He will be out of the lineup tonight. 
  • There have been reports of poor ice conditions at the Air Canada Center in Toronto due to a workers strike. Expect to see a few bouncing pucks tonight.

Battle Between The Pipes

Chicago Blackhawks: Antti Raanta (5-0-1, 2.12 GAA, .926 SV%)

Raanta has won three straight since starting goaltender Corey Crawford went down due to injury. Raanta has been solid stopping 84 of the 90 shots he has faced in that span. He has appeared in a total of seven games this season and has allowed exactly two goals in each of the seven games.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jonathan Bernier (9-10-2, 2.53 GAA, .926 SV%)

Bernier is 1-4-1 in his last six games, allowing 20 goals in that span. Despite allowing an abundance of goals, Bernier has played well considering the Leafs allow the most shots on net per game. He will surely be tested tonight against one of the best offensive teams in the league.

Players To Watch

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Patrick Kane: 17 G, 25 A, 42 P

After having his 12-game point streak come to an end at the end of November, Kane picked right back up and is currently on a seven-game point streak. Kane  has 14 points on this seven-game point streak.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Forward, Phil Kessel: 16 G, 15 A, 31 P

Kessel leads the Leafs with 16 goals and 31 points. He has 10 points over his last nine games and seems to be on track for another 30-goal season.

X Factors

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Andrew Shaw: 10 G, 10 A, 20 P

Shaw is on a five-game point streak, recording five points over that stretch. The third year forward is one of the most aggressive and physical players on the Blackhawks and has many tools which make him an all-around player.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Forward, Nazem Kadri: 10 G, 11 A, 21 P

Kadri is third on the Leafs in goals and points. He is developing into one of the team's better players, but still shows spurts of inconsistency. Kadri scored in the first game against the Blackhawks.

Tonight's game starts at 6 pm. CT.

Let's Go Hawks!

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