Leafs dominate Blackhawks to snap skid
TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs center Peter Holland admitted that he was thinking about a hat trick when he had a breakaway in the third period on Saturday.
The problem was, he missed the net.
That was about the only thing that went wrong for the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
With Holland and left winger Joffrey Lupul scoring two goals each, the Maple Leafs snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
"When I crossed the blue line it was going through my head, put it that way," Holland said. "I don't know if it kind of rolled on me -- but I missed the net, that's what happened. I'm sure my buddies will be on me for not scoring on it but the biggest thing is we won tonight."
Right wingers Jerry D'Amigo and Phil Kessel and left winger Nikolai Kulemin also scored for the Maple Leafs (17-14-3). Left winger Mason Raymond added four assists and Lupul had two assists.
"We were not very good," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They were much better than us. We got what we deserved tonight. We still got ourselves back in the game, 1-1 at the start of the second period and put ourselves in a decent spot."
Right winger Patrick Kane scored two goals and left winger Brandon Saad added one for the Blackhawks (23-7-5), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
"We really felt we needed a win," Lupul said. "It's a hard stretch for us, a lot of games in a short stretch of time so Saturday night at home with a day of rest, we came into the game feeling like it was pretty close to a must-win for us"
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 25 shots for the Maple Leafs while Chicago goaltender Antti Raanta stopped 20 of 25 shots before being replaced by Kent Simpson to open the third period.
Simpson, who stopped five of seven shots, was scored upon at 0:28 of the third period on Lupul's second goal of the game and 10th of the season as the Maple Leafs stretched their lead to four goals.
Saad scored his 12th goal of the season at 7:38 of the third, but Kessel answered with his 17th at 8:35.
"It's always nice to see your team supply enough offense so that you can actually breathe at the 10-minute mark of the third period," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said.
Toronto scored early and often in the second period to take a 5-2 lead. They went ahead 2-1 at 0:42 of the second period after D'Amigo scooped in the rebound off a shot by Kulemin. It was his first career NHL goal.
"You guys can't see it but I'm just going crazy inside here now," D'Amigo said.
Holland's second goal of the game and his fifth of the season put the Maple Leafs into a 3-1 lead at 12:09 of the second period. He was set up by a backhand pass from Raymond.
"We know (Holland) is a skilled guy, we know he can score," Carlyle said. "It was nice to see him get his."
Kane scored his second goal of the game and 19th of the season on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle at 13:30 of the second to cut the lead to 3-2 after a Toronto turnover.
"We tried to fight back and get ourselves into it but it was too little too late," Kane said. "It's tough when you go through those penalties, it kind of messes up the momentum of the game and the flow."
The Maple Leafs regained a two-goal lead at 14:36 when Kulemin scored his fourth of the season on a pass from the corner by center Jay McClement.
Lupul deflected a point shot by defenseman Jake Gardiner on a power play at 17:08 of the second to give Toronto a three-goal lead. Center Andrew Shaw was off for tripping.
The Maple Leafs had the first three power plays of the game and scored on the second one at 7:14 of the first period. Holland, perched on the right side of the goal, converted a goalmouth pass from Lupul for his first goal of the game. Shaw was off for tripping.
The Maple Leafs' first two penalties of the game gave the Blackhawks a two-man advantage. They capitalized on the opportunity to tie the game at 1. Kane was given credit for his first goal of the game at 16:14 of the first after his pass deflected into the net off the stick of Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Holland and Raymond were serving minor penalties at the time.
NOTES: Maple Leafs RW David Clarkson began a two-game suspension on Saturday for his hit to the head of St. Louis LW Vladimir Sobotka in Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Blues. ... D Dion Phaneuf returned to the Toronto lineup after serving his two-game suspension for his hit from behind on Boston D Kevan Miller in last Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Bruins. ... Blackhawks G Corey Crawford (groin) and G Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) remain sidelined and LW Bryan Bickell (knee) has resumed practicing but is still a week or more away from a return. ... The Blackhawks acquired G Jason LaBarbera from the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday in exchange for future considerations and assigned him to Rockford of the American Hockey League.