Perlini helps 'Hawks edge Maple Leafs

Perlini helps 'Hawks edge Maple Leafs

Brendan Perlini had a goal and two assists, and the Blackhawks held off a furious Toronto comeback to beat the Maple Leafs 5-4 on Wednesday night.

Chicago made it 5-0 at of the second 12:32 when Leafs defenceman Nikita Zaitsev's indecision led to DeBrincat roofing his 38th.

Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, and Duncan Keith, Dominik Kahun and Alex DeBrincat also scored as Chicago jumped out to a 5-0 lead before holding on for the win. Dylan Strome contributed two assists. Corey Crawford saved 17 of the 18 shots he faced in the Chicago goal but left because of illness after the second period. Colin Delia had 26 saves during the onslaught in the third. John Tavares also scored for Toronto, and William Nylander and Mitch Marner each added two assists. With Delia in net, the Blackhawks and conference-worst defense allowed Toronto to rip off four straight goals and storm back to produce an unexpectedly exciting finish at Scotiabank Arena. The home team is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings and the favorite is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings. Sparks stopped 24 of 25 shots.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Brendan Perlini (11) pursues the play against Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Scotiabank Arena.

Tavares then lost the puck at the offensive blue line, leading to a 2-on-1 break where Patrick Kane fed Kahun, who buried his 12th at 17:13.

Leafs defencemen Ron Hainsey motioned for fourth line centre Frederik Gauthier to cover in front, but the message wasn't received, leaving Saad all alone to tuck his in 23rd as four Toronto skaters were caught puck-watching.

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The Leafs trailed 4-0 after a shambolic first that featured horrendous giveaways coupled with galling miscues in the defensive zone, and 5-0 late in the second before they woke up and made the Blackhawks sweat.

Toronto finally got on the board with 1:33 left in the second when Rielly, who on Tuesday was cleared of uttering an alleged homophobic slur in the Tampa game, had his shot deflected in by Johnsson for his 20th. "After skating pretty heavily this morning, it definitely felt like a full game that third period". Rielly scored his 19th goal of the season at 10:55 of the third. Mikko Koskinen gave up four goals on 18 shots before he was replaced midway through the third.

The Philadelphia Flyers look for another win after winning six of their last nine games.

The Maple Leafs put 29 shots on net in that final 20 minutes, leaving them one shot shy of being the eighth National Hockey League team to ever put 30+ shots on goal in a single period. Pavel Buchnevich scored for the Rangers. Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 of 22 shots. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 24 saves as he was denied his 450th win.

It was their first 40 minutes - and an especially disastrous opening period - where a number of uncomfortable questions remain. Boeser opened the scoring on a power play at 6:07 of the second period as he one-timed a pass from Josh Leivo. However, the ending didn't come without some controversy, as there was one play in particular that perhaps should have given the Leafs a golden opportunity to tie the game in the final minute. He later returned to his team's bench. Pettersson, who suffered a concussion earlier in the season, received a bloody nose and went to the Canucks dressing room for an examination.

Vancouver could not score again on the lengthy man-advantage opportunity, but Motte scored 11 seconds after it expired, at 9:34 of the middle frame.

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