Some of the Eastern Conference teams in the NHL are squads the Blackhawks see only once a year -- not even home-and-home, just once -- and the Maple Leafs are one of those teams. They haven't played, these two, since Nov. 13, 2009, a 3-2 Hawks win.
Toronto is the Cubs of hockey. They haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967, haven't even been in the finals since then and haven't made the playoffs at all in seven years. That's not easy to do, either. However, the Leafs are making noise like they'd like to get back into it -- they're 6-1-3 in their last 10 games and only four points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
They'll be facing the hottest team in the league in the Blackhawks, who used a flurry of third-period goals to put away the Carolina Hurricanes last night for their seventh consecutive win. Jonathan Toews keeps playing like he'd like to put an MVP trophy on his... well, wherever modern players put MVP awards. The Hawks might have seen ex-teammate Kris Versteeg tonight, but he was traded to the Flyers a few weeks ago.
Tonight's game begins at 6 p.m. CST and will be televised on WGN (Chicago only).