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CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS at TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Saturday, 7 p.m., Scotiabank Arena
TV: CBC, Sportsnet Ontario; Radio: 590 AM
THE BIG MATCHUP
RW Patrick Kane vs. C Auston Matthews
These two always put on a scoring show, with a couple of memorable one-goal games at the United Center in Toronto’s past two visits. With 29 points in 18 games against the Leafs, just about his best numbers against any non-conference opponent, Kane can also expect some family and friends to slide up from Buffalo. Toronto’s best home-ice sniper, Matthews was denied Thursday against Calgary, but only once this season has he not scored in the next SBA match.
FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
The new Dominator?
Winger Dominik Kubalik came around at the right time for the Hawks, giving them a nice bookend with Alex DeBrincat for secondary scoring. Before being blanked in Montreal, he had six points in four games, making it 24 in 46 for the 24-year-old Czech, an ex-member of the Sudbury Wolves. The Hawks also have signed WHL star forward Brandon Hagel and could get him in this game.
Toronto has been at its best offensively in the middle period, with 59 goals, tied with Tampa Bay for fourth-most in the NHL. That’s almost double what Chicago has produced in the second.
The Leafs keep generating quality power play chances with their impressive weaponry and should have managed at least one more goal on Thursday against Calgary in four chances. But they are up against the seventh-best PK in the league and must be wary of giving up rushes the other way.
Stretch that defence
Defencemen Travis Dermott and Rasmus Sandin are getting plenty of ice time with the injuries to Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly. Both showed poise on Thursday as the Flames pressured them, while this is another chance for one-time Blackhawk second-round draft pick Justin Holl to really show the Hawks what they missed.
The Leafs have had some great numbers on the draw of late at home and had into this one ranked third in the league.
MAPLE LEAFS GAME DAY LINES
LW C RW
Zach Hyman Auston Matthews Mitch Marner
William Nylander John Tavares Pierre Engvall
Andreas Johnsson Alex Kerfoot Kasperi Kapanen
Brooks/Timashov Jason Spezza Frederik Gauthier
Travis Dermott Justin Holl
Martin Marincin Tyson Barrie
Rasmus Sandin Cody Ceci
D Jake Muzzin (foot)
D Morgan Rielly (foot)
LW Trevor Moore (concussion)
RW/LW Ilya Mikheyev (wrist)
BLACKHAWKS GAME DAY LINES
LW C RW
Dominik Kubalik Jonathan Toews Drake Caggiula
Alex Nylander Ryan Carpenter Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat David Kampf Kirby Dach
Bradon Saad/Dylan Sikura Zack Smith Matthew Highmore
Duncan Keith Adam Boqvist
Erik Gustafsson Connor Murphy
Olli Maatta Slater Koekkoek
D Brent Seabrook (shoulder, hips)
D Calvin de Haan (shoulder)
RW Brandon Saad (ankle)
RW Andrew Shaw (concussion)
RW Dylan Strome (ankle)
Toronto 24.1% (6th)
Chicago 15.7% (27th)
Toronto 76.1% (25th)
Chicago 83.0% (7th)
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