While Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky had much of the spotlight on Monday night Blackhawks goaltender Anton Forsberg’s Chicago debut was very impressive in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Blackhawks high powered offense picked up right where it left off by scoring first for the third straight game. Rookie defenseman Jan Rutta scored his second goal in as many games, at 3:46 of the first period, when his centering pass from left side of the net deflected off of Mitch Marner’s stick and got in behind Frederik Andersen. John Hayden and Tommy Wingels picked up the assists on the play.
The forecheck of the first line created another goal just over four minutes later, all while Andersen did not have his stick for some reason. Richard Panik drove to the net and was denied, but Toews was there to roof the rebound over Andersen’s left shoulder for his second goal of the year. Brandon Saad was credited with the secondary assist.
After being tested a handful of times during the second period, Anton Forsberg finally surrendered the first goal in his Blackhawks career at 10:20 of the middle frame. Patrick Kane momentarily lost track of defenseman Nikita Zaitsev and that was enough for him to receive a pass in the right circle and shoot it between the legs of Forsberg.
Forsberg came up huge in the second period by making 18 saves during a sloppy frame that saw a total of seven minor penalties get called.
The Blackhawks got a power play about seven minutes into the third period after Leafs defender Andreas Borgman crushed Alex DeBrincat in the corner when he didn’t have the puck. Panik haunted his former team again by increasing the lead to 3-1 at 7:52. Gustav Forsling’s shot from the point went well wide of the net, but the rebound off of the end boards went right to Panik’s stick who easily put it into a wide open net. Rutta picked up the secondary assist on Panik’s third goal of the season.
However Panik played a major role on Connor Brown’s power play goal at the 13:00 minute mark. Panik did not get over to cover Zaitsev at the right point and that created a soft spot in zone for Brown to beat Forsberg while he was being screened by both Tanner Kero and Leo Komarov.
After the Blackhawks had some fortunate luck on all three of their goals, the Leafs got a fortunate bounce to tie the game on the power play at 15:42. James van Riemsdyk stationed himself in front of Forsberg where Tyler Bozak’s pass hit off the inside of his skate and went right into the Blackhawks net.
Auston Matthews ended the game 3:43 into overtime by beating Forsberg with a top shelf wrist shot.
It is hard to pin this collapse on Anton Forsberg who made 40 saves in his Blackhawks debut. The Blackhawks took far too many penalties and the aggressive forecheck that worked so well in the first period was nowhere to be seen over the final 43 plus minutes.
The Blackhawks will be back in action at the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night.