Blackhawks’ struggles in Canada continue in blowout loss to Maple Leafs

A 5-2 defeat Wednesday, in which the Hawks were unable to overcome an early Leafs blitz, marked their third straight loss by three or more goals on this road trip.

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The Maple Leafs blew past the Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday.

The Maple Leafs blew past the Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday.

AP Photos

TORONTO — The Blackhawks’ second visit to Canada this winter is not going well.

The Hawks failed to recover from an early blitz in a 5-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, marking their third consecutive defeat by three or more goals.

“I can’t fault our guys for the try,” coach Luke Richardson said. “The effort was there. [With] a few more executions on our line rushes, maybe we give it a little push at the end and we’re close. But Toronto is an explosive team, and they were really moving the puck in the ‘O’-zone tonight. We had a little bit of difficulty on a few of the goals.”

Leafs forward William Nylander instantly set the tone by taking advantage of an ill-timed slip by Jake McCabe to score just nine seconds after the opening draw. The hosts added two more goals within the next 12 minutes, even with another overturned as offside.

A one-time blast by Philipp Kurashev — the Hawks’ most active player all night — briefly cut the deficit to 3-2 early in the second period, but a misadventure by goalie Petr Mrazek gifted the Leafs a fourth goal and the game never tightened again.

Final scoring chances favored the Leafs by a 41-15 margin, the Hawks’ fourth-worst performance of the season in that regard. Visually, it wasn’t as pitiful as the 4-0 loss Tuesday against the Canadiens, but it also wasn’t a whole lot better.

The Hawks have now been outscored 13-3 over their last three games and gone 1-5-0 across both recent Canadian trips, with Ottawa being their last city left to visit Friday.

“The hockey gets harder as the season goes on,” Max Domi said. “We’ve got to find ways, when they’re feeling like that, to weather the storm. It has been a few games of up and down.”

The Hawks were unsettled even before the game began, having made six transactions Wednesday morning.

Jarred Tinordi was placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee sprain, meaning he’ll miss at least four games. MacKenzie Entwistle also missed Wednesday after re-aggravating his wrist injury. Jonathan Toews (illness) and Alex Stalock (with what is now being called “ocular dysfunction”) were retroactively placed on injured reserve.

All that allowed the Hawks to call up forwards Cole Guttman and Brett Seney and defenseman Isaak Phillips from Rockford as mid-trip reinforcements, although only Guttman played against the Leafs. It was his NHL debut.

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