Stingy defense has played a critical role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ nine-game winning streak. That trend could very well continue considering the Toronto Maple Leafs’ scoring slump.
The reigning Stanley Cup champions aim to extend their remarkable run and hand the Maple Leafs a fourth consecutive loss in Friday night’s matchup at Air Canada Centre.
Key matchup:Morgan Rielly vs. Patrick Kane.
Leafs defenceman Rielly will have to use his blazing speed to try to slow down Blackhawks winger Kane, who leads the NHL with 63 points. “He’s one of the best players in the league for a reason,” Rielly said of Kane. “You can’t give him room. You’ve got to make life tough on him. Play him tight.”
The Chicago Blackhawks are on a roll right now and it doesn’t look like anyone is going to slow them down as they have won nine in a row and now sit tied with the Stars for top mark in the Central division and the Western Conference. The Hawks are looking like the defending champions and even with a huge bullseye on their backs they step up each and every night and for what was once seen as an insurmountable task to catch the Stars for the Central lead has quickly become reality over the last couple weeks. The Hawks will look for number 10 tonight and earn their 11th win on the road this season as they take on the Leafs who are 7-7-5 at the Air Canada Centre this season.
The Maple Leafs have started to play better over the past few weeks but still remain in second to last place in the Atlantic division and are in the running for the top overall draft pick if things trend downwards. The Buds are 5-5 in their last 10 contests and have lost three games in a row but they do have a healthy James Reimer right now who should take the starting goalie duty and run away with it for the rest of the season unless of course he is used as bait at the trade deadline. Toronto has been able to step up their game against some of the league’s better teams but this figures to be a tough spot against a Hawks team that can do no wrong right now. With Scott Darling likely getting the call and James Reimer already confirmed plus the Hawks in a back to back this game screams low scoring and we will take the under.