Lucky bounce lifts Maple Leafs over Blackhawks
The Maple Leafs fired only 3 shots on goal in the middle 20 minutes and the Blackhawks came back to tie until the lucky bounce in the final 1:20 of the game.
TORONTO (AP) — David Kampf took a lucky carom off the end boards and scored with 1:20 left in the third period to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
As Chicago goalie Kevin Lankinen went behind his net to stop Morgan Rielly’s shot into the zone, the puck bounced to Kampf, who scored an easy goal against his former team. Lankinen gave up five goals on 26 shots.
This season, Kampf has four goals and two have been important ones against the Blackhawks. On Oct. 27, he scored the tying goal in a game the Maple Leafs won 3-2 in overtime in Chicago.
“It doesn’t matter,” Kampf replied when asked if scoring against his old team was special. “It was a lucky bounce, and I had an open net.”
William Nylander had a goal and two assists, John Tavares and Auston Matthews each had a goal and an assist and Pierre Engvall also scored for Toronto, which won for the second time in five games without injured forward Mitch Marner.
Toronto’s Petr Mrazek made 31 saves in his first start since being sidelined with a groin injury on Oct. 30.
Mrazek stopped a breakaway by Patrick Kane midway through the third period. He attempted to beat Mrazek through his pads.
“You don’t have time to think about it,” Mrazek said of Kane’s breakaway. “I think I got a piece of it with my stick and then squeezed my pads.”
Jonathan Toews, Connor Murphy, Dominik Kubalik, and Jake McCabe scored for the Blackhawks.
Blackhawks interim head coach Derek King made his first appearance behind an NHL bench in Toronto. He scored 45 goals in 161 games for the Maple Leafs in the late 1990s. He also spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the AHL Toronto Marlies before moving to the Blackhawks organization.
The Maple Leafs blew a 4-1 lead and fired only three shots on goal in the middle 20 minutes. Chicago cut into the lead near the end of the second period. Then Kubalik scored early in the third period, and McCabe scored on drive with 9:18 remaining in regulation time.
“I think we just lost track of our process, the way we want to play,” said Nylander.
“I think we started to give pucks away and weren’t able to get pucks deep and play behind their goal line, which is what led to the game opening up like that.”
Marner (shoulder), Jason Spezza (suspension), Travis Dermott (shoulder) and Rasmus Sandin (knee) missed the victory for Toronto.
Chicago grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Maple Leafs rookie defenseman Kristians Rubins got caught and his teammates were slow to cover for him. The result was Toews scoring his second of the season off the rush. It took him 26 games to score his first goal of the campaign in Montreal on Thursday after missing the entire 2020-21 season with chronic immune response syndrome.
The Maple Leafs then struck for three goals, two on the power play, to earn a 3-1 lead after the first period.
Tavares scored on a soft wrist shot Lankinen misplayed on the power play. Nylander went unchecked by Blackhawks center Kirby Dach and knocked in a pass from behind the goal line from Tavares.
Matthews deposited a pass from Ondrej Kase on the power play to make it 3-1. After his two-goal outing against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, Kase was elevated to the right side of Matthews on the top line.
The fourth line increased Toronto’s lead to 4-1 early in the second period on a wrist shot from Engvall. Rookie Alex Steeves picked up the second assist on the goal for his first career point in his third game.
Chicago's Murphy scored on a wrist shot off Mrazek, 10 seconds after an interference penalty to Toronto’s Michael Bunting had expired.
Early in the third period, Chicago forward Philipp Kurashev outraced two Toronto defenders to slap the puck to a wide-open Kubalik to pull the Blackhawks to within 4-3.
“It’s the same story that it’s been here with just too many chances against,” Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Too many freebies, too many guys behind us, same issues that were hurting us when we weren’t winning games early in the season.
“The fact that we won tonight is a good thing, fortunate to get a little bit of a bounce there, but to me, we won the game on special teams and goaltending, but got outplayed pretty badly at five-on-five.”
Blackhawks: Host Calgary on Monday in the first of a three-game homestand.
Maple Leafs: At Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday in opener of a four-game trip.
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