TORONTO — The Chicago Blackhawks bounced back with a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.
Here are 10 observations from the win:
1. Really solid road game by the Blackhawks. And a significantly better second period than the one they had in Montreal two nights prior. The Blackhawks scored three goals in the middle frame — including a power-play goal! — and played like they were in control for most of the game.
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2. After a 0-for-7 night on the power play in Montreal on Saturday to put them at 0-for-14 on the season, the Blackhawks finally broke through with their first power-play goal of the season thanks to Tyler Johnson, who has three goals in his last two games. A much better effort all-around, and something to build (as long as they don't look at the fourth one on tape, because that was forgettable). Kevin Korchinski also picked up his first career NHL point with a secondary assist on the goal.
3. MacKenzie Entwistle drew into the lineup for the first time this season, and he found the back of the net in the second period to put Chicago ahead 1-0. That must've felt good as someone who's been on the bubble since training camp. He did commit two penalties though, which wasn't ideal.
4. This was an unreal stretch pass by Alex Vlasic, who put it right on the tape of Corey Perry and the Chicago newcomer buried the breakaway for his first goal in a Blackhawks jersey. I chuckled at Perry giving it to the Toronto crowd after the goal, too.
5. Taylor Hall returned to the lineup after missing one game with a shoulder injury. His line with Connor Bedard and Ryan Donato mostly went up against Auston Matthews' line, and they held their own. Hall sure balances out the lineup. You could feel his absence in Montreal.
6. Noah Gregor laid a hit on Zaitsev at the end of the first period that injured the Blackhawks defenseman, who went to the locker room with a towel on his head; he returned for the second period. Connor Murphy didn't like it, so he dropped the gloves with Gregor off the faceoff of the very next shift. I believe it was Gregor that hit Bedard along the boards in his previous shift, too. Another example of a veteran sticking up for their teammate.
7. Arvid Söderblom made his second start of the season. He stopped the shots he needed to stop and made a few extra ones that were key as well, especially in the final minutes of regulation. Goaltending has certainly not been an issue for the Blackhawks through four games.
8. Andreas Athanasiou centered the fourth line in this game, and he quietly had a two-assist outing. He should probably be playing higher in the lineup, but the Blackhawks don't have a gamebreaker that can play in the bottom-six, so they're using him there for now.
9. Jarred Tinordi and Cole Guttman were healthy scratches for the first time this season. The Blackhawks carried three extra players on the road trip, and they wanted to give everyone a look. I was surprised to see Tinordi as the one to sit on the back end but I heard he had some work done on his hip over the offseason, so I think they might try monitoring his workload, at least to start.
10. Connor Bedard and Auston Matthews have mutual respect for one another. Bedard has studied Matthews' shot over the years, and has "looked up to" him since he entered the league. Matthews had high praise for Chicago's No. 1 overall pick on Sunday: “He shoots it as good as anybody I’ve seen. He’s definitely special in that regard. He's a very dangerous player."