Bolland caps comeback as Blackhawks edge Maple Leafs

TORONTO (Ticker) — The Chicago Blackhawks did not let a pregame
ceremony or a slow start put a damper on their annual “Circus

Dave Bolland scored 48 seconds into overtime as the Blackhawks
rallied for a 5-4 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs on

Patrick Sharp netted a pair of goals before Patrick Kane and Ben
Eager tallied in the third period for Chicago, which allowed the
first three goals of the game and trailed by two after 40

Bolland added an assist while defensemen Duncan Keith and Brian
Campbell notched two apiece for the Blackhawks, who improved to
3-0-0 on their six-game road trip made necessary due to the
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ occupation of the
United Center.

“We’re trying to not look too far ahead,” Chicago captain
Jonathan Toews said. “We went down a few goals and we took it
and rallied back. On this trip, we’re definitely getting the
bounces around the net. We just need to start off better next

“We haven’t been our best in the last few games, and we’ve
weathered a few storms,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
“It’s been a tough road trip, and we’ve had some emotional wins
like tonight. We’re happy with the win, it shows what this team
is capable of.”

Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky each recorded a goal and an
assist while blue-liner Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore also
scored for the Maple Leafs, who honored former left wing Wendel
Clark’s No. 17 during a pregame ceremony.

Vesa Toskala stopped 31 shots for Toronto, which has lost three
in a row and fell to 2-5-2 in its last nine.

“We got a 3-0 lead, got carried away with ourselves and tried to
make a lot of long bomb passes that got picked off,” Maple Leafs
coach Ron Wilson said. “We were picking them apart with a lot
of short passes, and then we got away from what we were doing
and they took it to us.

“When you lose a game, it’s always going to be something. We
had a good start, we were focused. The first half of the game,
we dominated them. Then we got a too-many-men-on-the-ice
penalty and it was all downhill from there. We got sloppy and
we got beat.”

The atmosphere at Air Canada Centre resembled a circus early for
the Blackhawks as Kubina scored late in the first period and
Stajan and Moore tallied within the first 9 1/2 minutes of the
second to give the Maple Leafs a 3-0 bulge. Sharp got Chicago
back in the game with goals 2:20 apart later in the session, but
Ponikarovsky put Toronto up by two with 2:50 to go.

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“It was a good shot,” said Ponikarovsky, who put a wrister
between goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin’s pads after skating out
from behind the net and into the right faceoff circle. “I just
kept circling, trying to hold off the defense, and then I turned
and shot five-hole.”

The 2008 Calder Trophy winner, Kane again made it a one-goal
game just 58 seconds into the third, and Eager forged a 4-4 tie
with 7:33 remaining, receiving a pass from behind the net by
Bolland and beating Toskala to the stick side from the doorstep
for his third goal of the season.

“They got that equalizer in the third and we were on our heels,”
Stajan said.

“Between the first and second periods, we knew we had to go
hard,” Bolland said. “Then between the second and third we just
said, ‘Let’s go and have no give up.’ Guys were yelling and
screaming, and we knew if we got one, we’d be set up to get a
few more.”

Less than a minute into overtime, Martin Havlat made a slap pass
from above the slot to Bolland, who skated around defenseman
Jeff Finger at the bottom of the right faceoff circle and
backhanded the puck into the net from the doorstep to give
Chicago its fourth straight road win and fourth victory in a row
overall over Toronto.

“It was great getting that last one at the end there,” Bolland
said. “It felt great. I took it in, gave it to Havlat, and he
kept looking and looking, and he gave it to me and I slid it
under Toskala into the wide-open cage.”

“Bolland made a great play on that goal there to tie it and a
great move to win it,” Quenneville said. “Bolland is useful in
many different ways. He’s very effective and (had) a great
finish to today’s game.”

Stajan had a chance to give Toronto a 2-0 lead late in the first
period, when he was awarded a penalty shot after being knocked
down from behind on a breakaway with 8.7 seconds remaining in
the session. But Khabibulin made a terrific left pad save on
Stajan’s backhander, keeping Chicago’s deficit at one.

“Thankfully, we came out with a point,” Stajan said. “We played
two great periods. You have to play 60 (minutes). Have a bad
period against a good team like that and they’ll make you pay.
In this league, you can’t take any time off. Most teams are too

Khabibulin made 34 saves for the Blackhawks.