Toronto Maple Leafs (19-10-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (22-9-1)
|Date & Time||Sunday December 21, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -195 / Toronto Maple Leafs +175 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
The Maple Leafs look to stop a two game slide as they head into the United Center to take on the Blackhawks on Sunday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a few days removed from being the hottest team in the league but back to back losses to league also rans has the skeptics smiling again and the mini two game slide has the Buds back in fourth place in the Atlantic division. The Leafs are a good team that to me is certainly one of the best three in their division but it will definitely be a battle to get into the playoffs this season as the teams in the Atlantic are very close and will likely be beating up on each other for the duration of the season in what is the most competitive division from top to bottom. The Leafs will likely turn to james Reimer here and give Jonathan Bernier the night off which I'm sure after last night he could use as he was peppered for seven goals against the Flyers though sometimes getting an opportunity to turn things around right away is a better approach. Reimer is slated to be matched up with the returning Corey Crawford who has been out with an injury while Scott Darling and Antii Raanta filled in.
The Blackhawks are coming off a tough loss on the road against the suddenly surging Columbus Blue Jackets but to be honest I don't think the game even deserved to go that far as the Hawks were lucky to grab a single point. The overtime loss did push Chicago's record to 8-1-1 in their last 10 contests and they are now in sole possession of first place in the Central division and are just three points back of the Ducks for top spot in the league. The Hawks are without a doubt one of the best teams in the NHL and should be treated as such as the season moves along and so far this season they have had a very interesting dynamic with the Maple Leafs as they have split the two contests with both teams locking in massive, confidence boosting victories. With both teams playing in a back to back I think this one will be played tight to the vest and with the return of Crawford and Reimer looking to prove he deserves more time I think we see a low scoring affair that will come down to the wire.