Luckily tonight's "main" headline will not be all about Connor Bedard and the start of his NHL career. No, the likely main headline will be Auston Matthews and his pursuit of another hat trick (has back to back to start the season). This is a good thing for Chicago as the leagues attention has squarely been on the promotion of Connor Bedard thus far.
After a great opener against a list-less Penguins squad, the Blackhawks have dropped back to back matchups against the Bruins and Canadiens. The matchup against the Bruins saw another outstanding performance from a Hawks' netminder while the game in Montreal saw Chicago try to come back late with a lively crowd booing our young rookie at ever touch.
At 1-2 on the season, heading into a cup favorite's arena, tonight will be a tough bout. The return of Taylor Hall (sooner than expected) tonight could be a big difference in the game though, The inclusion of Hall to the top line makes the line formidable, while the Blackhawks 3rd line of Foligno - Dickinson - Perry is shaping up to be a true strength of the team.
While the expectation is that Matthews could be in line to make history, I'll be watching how our 3 young defenders try and jam the Leaf forwards at center ice. Alex Vlasic (as I've written) will be a big part of tonight's gameplan as it'll be his length and reach that could cause issues for the vaunted Toronto offense.
Being the underdog with little expectation for a point, the Blackhawks may find themselves with nothing to lose tonight. For me, that could play into their favor. With some early strong play in net, all eyes on Matthews, and a home crowd thinking a 5 goal victory is imminent.... I think the young Blackhawks ride the 3rd line matchup to some gritty goals. Will it be enough tonight? Time will tell, but from my perspective it could be a closer matchup than it seems.
Prediction: 4-3 Blackhawks (OT)