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Preview: Maple Leafs at Blackhawks

Chicago aims to shore up penalty killing against Toronto's improving power play

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (1-1-2) at BLACKHAWKS (2-3-0)

7 p.m. ET; CBC, WGN, NHL.TV

 

Maple Leafs team scope 

The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost their past two games and haven't won against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center since Feb. 12, 2003. Center Auston Matthews, who has six points (five goals, one assist) in his first four NHL games, leads a talented group of rookies into their first game in Chicago. Matthews has a goal and an assist on Toronto's power play, which is 3-for-5 through the first two games of its road trip. Goaltender Frederik Andersen is expected to start when the Maple Leafs will try to slow forward Richard Panik, a former member of the Toronto organization. Panik, whom the Blackhawks acquired from the Maple Leafs for forward Jeremy Morin on Jan. 3, leads Chicago with seven points (five goals, two assists) in five games. "He didn't make our team at the start last year, but he was in the minors and they made a minor-league deal for him," coach Mike Babcock said after the Maple Leafs morning skate Saturday. "Obviously, we didn't have the same value for him as the [Blackhawks] do, and he's proving them right."

 

Blackhawks team scope 

The Blackhawks are looking to improve their penalty killing after allowing 11 power-play goals in 19 times shorthanded through their first five games, including two power-play goals in two times shorthanded in a 3-2 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. Chicago, which did not hold a morning skate, ranks 30th in the NHL on the penalty kill (42.1 percent). "It's just not good enough," captain Jonathan Toews told the Blackhawks website Friday. "We deserve all the criticism." Goalie Corey Crawford has allowed three even-strength goals on 88 shots through four appearances (.966 save percentage), and 10 power-play goals on 26 shots (.615 save percentage). Right wing Marian Hossa, questionable with a lower-body injury, could miss a second straight game. The Blackhawks also will be without defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who sustained an upper-body injury sliding into a goal post against the Blue Jackets. Van Riemsdyk showed up at United Center on Saturday wearing a sling on his right arm.

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Milan Michalek -- Nazem Kadri -- Leo Komarov

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Peter Holland --Connor Brown

Morgan Reilly--Connor Carrick

Jake Gardiner--Roman Polak

Matt Hunwick--Nikita Zaitsev

Frederik Andersen

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Frank Corrado, Seth Griffith, Martin Marincin

Injured: Josh Leivo (lower body)

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Tyler Motte -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Vinnie Hinostroza -- Nick Schmaltz -- Ryan Hartman

Dennis Rasmussen -- Marcus Kruger -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny -- Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling -- Brian Campbell

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Michal Rozsival

Injured: Marian Hossa (lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body), Andrew Desjardins (lower body)

 

Status report  

If Hossa plays, he likely will play right wing on the third line. Hartman would likely flip to the left wing and Hinostroza could move to the fourth line or be scratched a second straight game. … Marincin, who has missed one game, participated in the morning skate. Babcock said Marincin will be a healthy scratch.

 

Who's hot

Panik scored his fifth goal of the season Friday. … Matthews and Nylander each have points in three of the Maple Leafs' first four games.

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