Chicago Blackhawks (23-6-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (16-14-3)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 14, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs +138 / Chicago Blackhawks -152 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Maple Leafs looks to stop the bleeding as they host the league’s best team at the ACC on Saturday night.
The Blackhawks have been business as usual this season as they continue to win hockey games at a torrid pace just a season removed from setting records and hoisting their second Stanley Cup in four years. The Hawks head into Toronto on Saturday night sporting the league’s best record as they are 23-6-5 in 34 games this season and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down as they have won three in a row and seven of their last 10. Chicago is yet to lose since they lost starting goaltender Corey Crawford and now that backup Anttii Raanta is starting to gain confidence the Hawks could be even more dangerous than they have been already. The Hawks are pretty big favourites coming into this one and for good reason as the Leafs have been dreadful of late and are still without some key components.
Toronto seems to be in quicksand right now as they can’t seem to shake off the losing atmosphere they have built over the past week and a bit and things don’t get any easier on Saturday as they host the league’s best team after dropping contests to both Los Angeles and St. Louis. The Buds have had to deal with a number of injuries so far this season as well as suspensions to some pretty vital players but they can’t keep using these setbacks as a scapegoat or else they’ll find themselves out of a playoff spot in a hurry. The Leafs do get Dion Phaneuf back in the lineup after he served his two game suspension but the Hawks are loaded with talent up front and it will take more than one player to make a difference defensively for the blue and white. However, the Leafs seem to get up for these games at home and did play very well against the Kings earlier this week and I think they show up in this one and give the Hawks a run. I like the Leafs as massive home dogs to keep it close and that’s where I’ll side here.