It was a wild start and an even more wild finish as the Blackhawks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night, 5-4. The win was the third straight in the second game of a back-to-back for Chicago to start the season.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Patrick Kane pushed his point streak to six games (5G, 6A) with two goals and an assist.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: Robin Lehner tied a career high with 53 saves on 57 shots in the win, his fourth of the season.
UP NEXT: Chicago heads back on the road to face the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night.
Kane opened a high-scoring first period himself, though he was looking towards Dylan Strome at the back post. From the circle, Kane tried to fire a pass across the slot to his streaking centerman, but the puck deflected off the stick of Cody Ceci, then off the inside of Michael Hutchinson's pad and into the goal for a 1-0 lead at 5:18.
Kirby Dach, a healthy scratch a night ago, became the fourth forward this season to bounce back from a night off with a goal at the 12-minute mark. Calvin de Haan walked in from the point and fired a shot from the nearside dot, that Dach swiftly slammed home the rebound of on the far side for his second goal of the season.
Before the fans at the UC could even find their seats, Kane added his second of the night just 10 seconds later, walking in off the center-ice draw to the left side before cutting to the slot and roofing a backhand for a 3-0 Blackhawks lead at 12:10 of the first.
The visitors would find the scoresheet courtesy of William Nylander at 16:29 of the opening frame. The brother of Chicago forward Alex Nylander slid a shot immediately off the draw between the legs of Lehner to cut the lead to 3-1.
The whirlwind opening 20 wasn't done there, though. Jonathan Toews answered back less than a minute later and re-gained the three-goal Blackhawks lead on the power play at 17:28 of the first. Kane, from the high slot, found Alex DeBrincat on the left side of the net, who fired a pass across the top of the crease to Toews on the far side, elevating a quick shot top shelf for a 4-1 lead.
Following a much quieter second period, the Maple Leafs and William Nylander once again made it a two-goal game at 2:27 of the third. Nylander capitalized on a failed clearance from Chicago and walked down the boards before cutting to the middile and roofing a puck over the shoulder of Lehner in tight for his second of the night.
Just over 10 minutes later, John Tavares would pull it back to a one-goal game on the power play with a rebound in front. Off a faceoff draw to Lehner's right to start the man advantage, a shot from the point by Auston Matthews fell to Tavares off Lehner's pad and the forward put home his fifth of the season.
As the Leafs continued to push late, Brandon Saad would answer back 16:24 of the third off the rush. With a loose puck in the slot ahead of the Blackhawks net, Drake Caggiula picked it up and brought it ahead, sending the puck to Toews on the near side. The captain slid a hard pass across the slot to a driving Saad, who deflected the puck into the net for a 5-3 lead.