More from Editor in Leaf’s Tim Chiasson
Toronto’s special teams have come a long way since last season. Their powerplay is second in the league (23.5%) and the penalty kill is ninth (82.9%). Why do you their think special teams have been consistently good this year?
TC: They’ve been able to roll two good units on the PP thanks to the influx of young talent. For the PK, it has been a combination of structure and good goaltending that has helped them get better. They’ve also tried to stay away from putting bad players out on the PK because of theories that they are PK specialists, which just isn’t true.
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The last time the Leafs played the Blackhawks, Chicago came from being down 4-2 to win the game 5-4 in the shootout. What do you think is the key to beating them this time around?
TC: They’ve got to try and control Patrick Kane. He’s the offensive catalyst, in my opinion. If they can control Kane and get good goaltending they’ll give themselves a chance to win. The ’Hawks are playing much better hockey now than they were in October for the first meeting between these two teams, so it’s going to be a tough game.
Wrapping up the matchup
Since the opening of the Air Canada Centre, the Chicago Blackhawks hold a 6-3-1 record there. In the last game the Blackhawks played at the ACC, Kane scored his first regular-season hat trick in his career.
Leafs fans kind of want to forget that ever happened. In the last meeting between these two teams, Toronto blew a 4-2 lead in the third period, and ended up losing 5-4 in the shootout. They’re not going to want to do that this time around.
A huge thanks to Tim Chiasson at Editor in Leaf for taking the time to share his thoughts on the Maple Leafs. With a five-point lead on the Wild as possibility, let’s hope the Blackhawks can keep the winning streak going.
They need to step up their play a little bit, as well. They’ll want to grab those two points and close out the season series with the Leafs with a big win. If there were any doubts that this team wasn’t going to be dominant, there sure aren’t any now.