I know that the hockey world came to a screeching halt today when the Arizona Coyotes traded John Scott to the Montreal Canadiens earlier, but big news like that doesn’t cancel hockey games. Tonight, the reigning Stanley Cup Champions travel to Toronto to face off against the Leafs.
The Blackhawks arrive at the Air Canada Centre this evening winners of their last nine games while the Leafs will try to snap a three-game losing streak. That said, Chicago played just last night in Montreal and Toronto will look to capitalize on a tired opponent.
Toronto has only scored two goals in the past three games, and I’m not quite sure who’s best to step up against the Blackhawks tonight and score a goal or two. No matter what matchups Mike Babcock chooses to roll out tonight, the Leafs certainly don’t have enough firepower to stand tall against their opponents. What Toronto will hope for tonight is a close checking game and a few opportune turnovers and gaffes to put them over the top.
There are just so many weapons here. We already know all about Patrick Kane, the league’s leading scorer, but the one I’m probably most excited to see is first-year NHLer Artemi Panrin. An undrafted free agent out of the KHL, the 24-year old Panarin sits second in team scoring with 39 points in 46 games. And have some of those points ever been pretty. Also, watch out for newest Blackhawk and former Leaf Richard Panik on the fourth line.
James Reimer has been confirmed as the Leafs’ starter this evening, but there’s still no official word on who will be in net for the Blackhawks. I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s Scott Darling, since Corey Crawford played just last night, and what better time to slide your backup in than against one of the league’s bottom dwellers?
I hate playing this game, since I’m almost always wrong, but I’m going to be bold tonight and say that the really, really good Chicago Blackhawks will beat the pretty, pretty bad Toronto Maple Leafs. And I’m going to say it’ll be something like… 4-2.