Connor Bedard, the 18-year-old rookie tasted his first National Hockey League victory as Chicago Blackhawks rally to fill an early 2-0 deficit at Pittsburgh.
In the opening period, Bryan Rust initiated the scoring for the Penguins, and in the following period, Sidney Crosby netted a goal to extend Pittsburgh’s lead. During the middle frame, Connor Bedard played a pivotal role in setting up a Ryan Donato goal for the Blackhawks, earning his first NHL point in the process.
In the third period, Cole Guttman leveled the score for Chicago early on. With less than five minutes remaining in regulation, Jason Dickinson found the back of the net from the slot, granting Chicago its first lead of the game. An empty-net goal by Nick Foligno sealed the victory for the Blackhawks.
Petr Mrazek made an impressive play for the Blackhawks with 38 saves and a Save Percentage of 0.950.
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Bedard made an impressive NHL debut, leading his team in shots on goal with five, out of a total of 11 shot attempts. Despite his remarkable performance, his faceoff struggles were evident as he only won two out of 13 draws. However, overall, Bedard left a strong first impression at the NHL level. Bedard said post-game, “I think, for me, it’s just trying to get better every shift, every game. I created a bit. There’s obviously things I can get better at. But felt pretty good.”
The Penguins appear to be grappling with their third-period issues from the previous season, as they once again let a 2-1 lead slip away to start the final frame, mirroring their performance from last year when they were tied for the most losses after leading into the third period.
Looking ahead, Blackhawks go up against the President Trophy winners Boston Bruins while Pittsburgh plays Washington Capitals.