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Game 9 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Chicago Blackhawks

The Toronto Maple Leafs were due for a test of their skill and here it is. The Chicago Blackhawks are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and will surely put up more than a fight for a Leafs team that has yet to iron out its mistakes.

The biggest storyline of the game is the return to Chicago for Leafs centre Dave Bolland. In June, he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal wearing a Blackhawks uniform. A week later, he was a Maple Leaf. Bolland will surely be motivated to play well in the city where he won two Stanley Cups.

While they are the defending champs, the Blackhawks haven’t got off to the greatest start with a 4-1-2 record to place them third in the Central Division. Joel Quenneville has even separated Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. That might work in their favour as now they have two dangerous lines with them separated.

The Leafs should have James van Riemsdyk back in the lineup after missing the last two games. James Reimer should be be ready to back up Jonathan Bernier.

Starting Lineups (from the Toronto Sun)

Maple Leafs

Forwards

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakPhil Kessel

David BrollNazem KadriJoffrey Lupul

Mason RaymondDave BollandJosh Leivo

Carter AshtonJay McClementColton Orr

Defense

Dion PhaneufCarl Gunnarsson

Paul RangerJake Gardiner

Morgan RiellyCody Franson

Goalies

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Blackhawks

Forwards

Marian HossaJonathan ToewsBrandon Saad

Patrick SharpMichal HandzusPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellMarcus KrugerAndrew Shaw

Brandon BolligBrandon PirriJoakim Nordstrom

Defense

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Nick LeddySheldon Brookbank

Niklas HjalmarssonJohnny Oduya

Goalies

Corey Crawford

Nikolai Khabibulin

Keys To Victory

Leafs: Offense, Offense, Offense

The Blackhawks last six games have only been decided by one goal. If the Leafs can solve Corey Crawford and have an offensive outburst, the should be able to win. Phil Kessel breaking out of his goalless streak would be nice.

Blackhawks: Defense

Often hid behind their great forward corps, the Blackhawks defense is one of the best in the NHL. When they’re on their game, they can be unbeatable.

You can watch the game on CBC in Canada, WGN and the NHL Network in the U.S. You can listen to the game on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. You can also find  Leafs vs. Blackhawks tickets here if you’re looking to catch the game in Chicago.

Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Toronto Maple Leafs

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