Blackhawks deny Maple Leafs' comeback, hold on for 5-4 win

Mike Babcock

Mike Babcock

Two days later, the Leafs were down 4-0 after one period and trailed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 after mounting a furious late game comeback before falling 5-4.

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. Dylan Strome added two assists for the Hawks, who have won four straight and crept within four points of the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card in the Western Conference.

The first two periods were an absolute disaster for the Leafs, as they fell into a 5-0 hole against a very inconsistent, very flawed Blackhawks team.

"We played really well in the first period and most of the second", Chicago head coach Jeremy Colliton said.

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 made 26 saves during the onslaught in the third.

"Right now, we just know that with the meaning of these points and these games, every game is going to be tough", Toews said.

On Monday, the Leafs were wrecked 6-2 by the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning after trailing 2-0 after the first period and 4-0 midway through the second frame.

"I just think as we go here, we're getting more comfortable with how we have to play to win", said Colliton, who replaced the fired Joel Quenneville on November 6 with the Hawks 6-6-3.

"We had some (offensive) zone time too where we were able to hold them down and create things with five guys in the zone".

Toronto's streak has not been as good, but still strong over the last 17 games, where they were 12-5.

Over their last dozen games, the Maple Leafs must sort out their first-period blues, get healthy - especially on the back end - and hope like heck that they've done enough to secure home ice advantage in round one. Rielly's shot on the power play got through traffic and beat Delia with just over 9 minutes remaining, and Tavares stuffed his career-high 39th with 1:31 left.

Matthews, who was playing the 200th game of his career, brought the Leafs a little closer at 7:57 of the third when he banked his 32nd. "The playoffs have already started, if you ask me".

LAST 10 GAMES: Flyers: 6-3-1, averaging 3.6 goals, 6.3 assists, 3.2 penalties and seven penalty minutes while giving up 3.1 goals per game with a.908 save percentage.

Maple Leafs: Host Philadelphia on Friday night to finish a three-game homestand.

TOP PERFORMERS: Mitchell Marner has recorded 84 total points while scoring 24 goals and collecting 60 assists for the Maple Leafs.