Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. At the center of this much-anticipated matchup are two young players. For the Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews is setting the ice on fire with his remarkable goal-scoring spree. For the Blackhawks, young Connor Bedard is showing why fans believe he is a generational player in the making.
Matthews Has Started the Season Strong
Fresh off two incredible hat tricks, Matthews will aim to continue his scoring frenzy. In a 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild, he netted three goals. That followed a first hat trick in the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens, leading the Maple Leafs to a thrilling 6-5 shootout win. Matthews now boasts a remarkable nine career hat tricks and has joined an elite group of players in NHL history who have scored hat tricks in each of their first two games of the season.
“I think the work ethic has been there both games, and as a line, just moving our feet, making sure we are taking care of each other defensively and just trying to attack offensively, and obviously the puck has been going in, so that’s always fun and always positive,” Matthews commented.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe is thrilled with Matthews’ incredible form, stating, “Auston is focused on the big picture. He’s looking to really drive our team.”
While Matthews is undeniably the star, William Nylander has been making his presence felt as well. He contributed a goal and an assist in the game against the Wild and has three goals this season.
The Blackhawks Are Seeking Wins in Bedard’s First Season
On the other side, the Blackhawks are eager to bounce back after a 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Despite two third-period goals from Tyler Johnson, the Blackhawks struggled with an 0-for-7 power play. They also allowed a short-handed goal to Montreal.
Chicago head coach Luke Richardson pointed out that the power play wasn’t sharp and there was a need for more team-oriented play. The third period saw a spirited comeback effort by the Blackhawks, outshooting Montreal 16-9, but they ultimately ran out of time.
Connor Bedard, the first-overall pick of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft has been making his mark. He’s put up a point in each of his first three NHL games. Clearly, it shows promise for the Blackhawks’ future.
The Bottom Line
As the Maple Leafs and the Blackhawks face off tonight, hockey fans can look forward to an intense showdown between a goal-scoring sensation and an emerging talent. For me, this meeting makes this game a must-watch.