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January 18th, 2020: Chicago Blackhawks vs Maple Leafs Preview

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 10: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks approaches the puck in the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the United Center on November 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 10: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks approaches the puck in the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the United Center on November 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks travel to Toronto to finish their three-game road trip in Canada. After a great start, can the Blackhawks finish strong?

The Chicago Blackhawks sit at 22-20-6 after 48 games this season. Going into tonight’s game, the Blackhawks are only five points out of the playoffs. The Jets are just four points ahead of the Blackhawks. Those two teams will play on Sunday.

The important thing to look at is the 3 PM game today. The Oilers are playing the Coyotes. As the Oilers are holding on to the last wildcard spot, the Blackhawks need them to lose as many games as possible. The Coyotes are having a great season. They’re in second place in the Pacific Division. If all goes well, the Coyotes will help out the Blackhawks with a win.

The Blackhawks are 14-1-2 in their last 17 games in Canada against Eastern Conference teams. After back-to-back wins on the road, the team is looking the best they’ve had all season. An important thing to note is, Brandon Saad could be returning tonight. That just adds more depth to the lineup.

Statistically

The first time these two teams played, the Blackhawks won 5-4. The last few games against each other, they’ve been close and exciting.

The Maple Leafs are the total opposites to the Blackhawks. They’re ranked sixth on the Power Play, but they’re 25th on the Penalty Kill. The Blackhawks are 27th on the Power Play and a solid seventh on the Penalty Kill.

The Leafs are the second-highest scoring team in the NHL. They’re also the 23rd ranked team on goals-against. The Blackhawks have done really well as of late scoring goals. They’ve had a lot of success from bottom-six players. That always makes a team dangerous.

When it comes to key players, both teams have a bunch. During the last five games, the Blackhawks have three different players leading the top three categories for skaters. Dominik Kubalik has scored six goals in the last five games. Patrick Kane has six assists during the last five games, while Jonathan Toews has eight points during the last five games.

The Maple Leafs have a totally different story. Auston Matthews has also scored six goals in his last five games. Mitch Marner is their leader in assists with four and points with six during their last five games.

Goaltending gives a slight edge to the Maple Leafs. Frederik Andersen has played well this season. He is 22-8-6 as a starter with one shutout and a .912 save percentage. Robin Lehner for the Blackhawks is 14-7-4, with a .923 save percentage.

Betting Odds

The Maple Leafs are favored, which isn’t a surprise. I’m hoping for a fast-paced, fun, exciting game. Kane is riding an eight-game point streak. He is also just two points away from his 1,000th career point.

Will the Blackhawks improve to 15-1-2 in their last 18 games up north against the Eastern Conference? Will Kane get his 1,000th career point? Both of those questions will be answered tonight, 6 PM CST in Toronto.

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