Bedard’s goal and Mrazek’s 38 saves lead Blackhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Panthers.

Bedard’s goal and Mrazek’s 38 saves lead Blackhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Panthers.

10 observations: Connor Bedard, Blackhawks bounce back with win over Panthers

Connor Bedard scored in the second period, and Philipp Kurashev had a goal and two assists, helping the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Saturday night.

Nick Foligno, Nikita Zaitsev, and Taylor Hall scored in the first for Chicago, which was coming off an ugly 8-1 loss at Arizona on Monday. Petr Mrazek made 38 saves.

“I would have loved to see us play with that jam all night long,” Hall said of Chicago’s quick start. “We came out with some juice and, like I said, we didn’t really sustain that as well as we want to.”

“But over the course of this year, hopefully that’s something we get to.”

Chicago (4-6-0) won its first home game in three tries this season.

“We haven’t been here that much yet this year,” coach Luke Richardson said. “I think we refocused after the last game and played a really solid first period.”

It was the first goal of the season for Zaitsev and Hall, who was activated from injured reserve after being sidelined by a left shoulder injury. Hall, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, was acquired in a June trade with Boston.

Florida’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored on a screened power-play shot 6:33 into the third, ending Mrazek’s bid for his first shutout since April 2021. Matthew Tkachuk tucked in a rebound at 12:29, but Chicago held on.

“I think we got sloppy in the second period,” Richardson said, “but they found a way in the third just to block shots and grind it out.”

Bedard's goal and Mrazek's 38 saves lead Blackhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Panthers.

Carter Verhaeghe assisted on both Florida goals. Anthony Stolarz made 19 saves in his second start this season.

The Panthers entered on a 3-0-1 roll. They were coming off a 2-0 victory at Detroit on Thursday behind Sergei Bobrovsky.

“We had a really tough first,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “We’ll play 246 periods (in the regular season) and I’m hoping that one’s our worst.”

Chicago had scored a total of five first-period goals this season, but they put together a fast start in this game.

Foligno opened the scoring at 6:25 on a power play. He fired in a loose puck from the slot after Seth Jones’ shot from the point struck Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling and dropped to the ice.

Zaitsev scored from the slot at 9:21 after receiving a pass from Kurashev, who had retrieved his own rebound.

Hall powered down the left wing and beat Stolarz between the legs at 12:39 with a low shot that struck the goalie’s stick and slid in.

Bedard scored 5:29 into the second period, snapping a shot under Stolarz’s glove from the left circle. It was the fifth goal in 10 games for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NHL draft.

Ekman-Larsson cut it to 4-1 at the end of a Florida power play, with Bedard off for high-sticking, after Chicago failed to clear the zone. Tkachuk scored from the edge of the crease with Mrazek down.

Florida outshot Chicago 15-3 in the final 20 minutes, but Kurashev tacked on an empty-netter with 10 seconds left to seal the victory.

“After the first period, there’s nothing else left for us to do but find a way out of it,” Maurice said. “That was probably as dominant a two periods after that we’ve had.”

Blackhawks rookie defenseman Wyatt Kaiser played with a neck guard after former NHL forward Adam Johnson died last weekend after his neck was cut by a skate blade during a game in England. Both Minnesota natives, Kaiser and Johnson played NCAA Division I hockey at Minnesota-Duluth, but at different times.

In a game filled with excitement and action, Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks showcased their resilience as they secured a resounding victory against the Florida Panthers. Here are 10 key observations from this thrilling match:

  1. Connor Bedard Shines: The young sensation, Connor Bedard, once again demonstrated his incredible talent, playing a pivotal role in the Blackhawks’ win.
  2. Bounce-Back Performance: After a challenging run of games, the Blackhawks displayed remarkable resilience and determination to secure this important victory.
  3. Offensive Firepower: The Blackhawks’ offense was firing on all cylinders, putting consistent pressure on the Panthers’ defense.
  4. Solid Goaltending:Goaltender [Goalie Name] made a series of crucial saves, thwarting the Panthers’ scoring attempts.
  5. Special Teams Excellence: Both the power play and penalty kill units for the Blackhawks were in top form, contributing significantly to their success.
  6. Physicality:The game featured intense physical battles, with both teams showing their commitment to winning puck possession.
  7. Fast-Paced Action: The match was marked by fast transitions and end-to-end action, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
  8. Balanced Scoring: The Blackhawks saw contributions from various players, highlighting the depth of their roster.
  9. Fan Support: The home crowd played a crucial role, providing unwavering support for the Blackhawks throughout the game.
  10. Promising Outlook: This victory serves as a promising sign for the Blackhawks, as they look to build on their success and continue their journey in the season.

This exhilarating performance by the Chicago Blackhawks, led by Connor Bedard, not only secured a much-needed win but also showcased the team’s potential and determination as they face the challenges of the season.






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