In front of a national television audience, the Blackhawks came out and hammered the Maple Leafs in the opening 20 minutes.
Three minutes into the game Brandon Saad set up Duncan Keith and the Hawks were up 1-0.
Over the nearly ten minutes following the Keith goal both sides had good chances but neither team converted. Chicago got hot, however, and Toronto had no answer.
Speaking of hot, Brendan Perlini followed his first career hat trick with a first period goal. His 12th of the year came at 12:55 into the first off assists from Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson.
Corey Crawford was playing well and the Hawks kept the pressure on Frederik Andersen, who was clearly fighting it in the first.
Dominik Kahun was next up for Chicago, extending the lead to three.
Patrick Kane set Kahun up for the pretty goal.
Saad found himself all alone in front of the net 95 seconds later and took a good feed from Dylan Sikura, had time to file his tax returns and then tapped in a nice shot past Andersen to make the score 4-0 in favor of the visiting Blackhawks.
After 20 minutes of hockey the Blackhawks had a 14-9 shot advantage and had completely dominated the Leafs in their barn. Andersen’s night was over after allowing all four Chicago goals.
Garrett Sparks entered the game for Toronto and did well early in the second as the Hawks refused to take their foot off the gas. It took Chicago 12:32 to score again, this time Alex DeBrincat was the finisher.
Strome and Perlini picked up their second assists of the game on DeBrincat’s 38th of the season; Perlini already had three points in less than 33 minutes.
With 93 seconds left in the second period Andreas Johnsson scored his 20th of the year for Toronto to end Crawford’s shutout bid.
After two periods the Blackhawks had a 27-18 shot advantage and had maintained a four-goal lead. Only four Chicago forwards – Jonathan Toews, David Kampf, Chris Kunitz and Marcus Kruger – were without a point after 40 minutes.
Collin Delia entered the game to start the third period for Chicago.
Corey Crawford (illness) will not return to tonight’s game. #CHIvsTOR
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 14, 2019
Toronto scored the first goal of the third period when Auston Matthews tapped in a loose puck at 7:57. Chicago was chasing after that and the Leafs got the game’s first power play with 9:38 remaining when Patrick Kane went to the box. The Leafs scored on the power play to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to two.
The Leafs pulled their goalie with 3:30 left in regulation still chasing two. Kane chased down and saved icing soon after but Toronto kept pouring it on. After a generously quick whistle stopped play Toews won a faceoff but Keith gave the puck away and John Tavares cut the lead to only one with 91 seconds left.
The 45 seconds that followed the Tavares goal were absolutely insane. Toronto had a few incredible chances and missed, Delia lost his stick for about 20 seconds and eventually a whistle stopped play because the net came off. Delia was getting absolutely blitzed, desperately trying to hang onto the lead.
Toronto got a couple more great looks but Delia somehow held on. Delia faced 30 shots in the third period.