After two high-scoring home victories to open the season, the Blackhawks went on the road for the first time to visit the young, fast Toronto Maple Leafs. And coach Joel Quenneville decided it was time to give Anton Forsberg his first start between the pipes for Chicago.
Early on it looked like more of the same from the Hawks. Chicago out-shot Toronto 9-7 in the opening 20 and took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room for the first intermission. Jan Rutta scored his second goal of the season 3:46 into the game and Jonathan Toews added his second of the year at 7:57.
John Hayden and Tommy Wingles picked up assists on the Rutta goal while Richard Panik and Brandon Saad had the helpers on Toews’ goal.
Toronto put a ton of pressure on Forsberg and the Hawks in the second period and Chicago was able to maintain a lead. Nikita Zaitsev scored at 10:20 to cut the lead to 2-1, but the Leafs had plenty of opportunities to tie the game (and, potentially, take a lead). Toronto held a 19-6 shot advantage in the second, but the Hawks had a one-goal lead.
Panik scored a power play goal at 7:52 to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead, but the Leafs then blitzed the Blackhawks again. Connor Brown scored at 13 minutes to cut the lead to 3-2 and a James van Riemsdyk power play goal less than three minutes later tied the game.
When regulation ended, Toronto had out-shot the Hawks 40-21.
And, after the Chicago Sun-Times named him the heir apparent to the USA Hockey lead role earlier on Monday, Auston Matthews scored the game-winner in overtime to close out a solid comeback for the Leafs.
Rutta had two points – he added an assist on the Panik goal – but his two minutes in the box in the third period led to the JvR goal.
Forsberg finished the night stopping 39 of 43 shots on net.
Toews finished with one goal and tied with Saad and Duncan Keith for the team lead with three shots on net. Chicago’s captain also won 12 of 23 at the dot and had two takeaways. Without Nick Schmaltz even on the trip, Patrick Kane had only one shot on net and was minus-three on the night.
Saad took eight faceoffs in the game and lost them all. Wingels took four faceoffs and lost all of them.
The Hawks are back at it on Tuesday night in Montreal.