Bedard shines in NHL debut as Blackhawks stun Penguins


Connor Bedard, the 18-year-old phenom who was the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, made his highly anticipated debut for the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. He did not disappoint, as he picked up an assist and showed off his skills in a 4-2 comeback win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.


Bedard played over 21 minutes, often sharing the ice with one of his idols, Sidney Crosby, who scored his 551st career goal for the Penguins. Bedard registered five shots on goal, the most among the Blackhawks, and got his first point with a secondary assist on a goal by Ryan Donato late in the second period.

“I was just trying to enjoy the moment and have fun out there,” Bedard said. “It was a great experience to play against Crosby and some of the best players in the world. I’m happy we got the win and I was able to contribute.”

Blackhawks rally from two-goal deficit

The Penguins looked to be in control of the game after Crosby scored on a feed from Jake Guentzel to make it 2-0 at 11:56 of the second period. The goal was Crosby’s first of the season and moved him past Ron Francis into fourth place on the Penguins’ all-time scoring list.

However, the Blackhawks responded with four unanswered goals to spoil the Penguins’ home opener. Donato cut the lead to 2-1 at 15:37 of the second, after receiving a pass from Alex Vlasic, who was set up by Bedard. Cole Guttman tied the game at 10:05 of the third with a wrist shot from the right circle. Jason Dickinson gave the Blackhawks the lead at 15:27 with a diving shot off a pass from Corey Perry. Nick Foligno sealed the win with an empty-netter at 18:33.

“We showed a lot of character and resilience,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “We didn’t panic when we were down. We stuck with our game plan and found a way to score some timely goals. It was a great team effort.”

Mrazek shines in net for Blackhawks

Petr Mrazek, who signed a four-year contract with the Blackhawks in July, made 38 saves in his first game for his new team. He was especially sharp in the first period, when he stopped 17 shots, including a breakaway by Guentzel.

Mrazek also made some key saves in the third period to preserve the lead, including a glove save on Evgeni Malkin with less than two minutes left.

“I felt good out there,” Mrazek said. “The guys played hard in front of me and blocked a lot of shots. It’s always nice to start the season with a win, especially against a tough team like Pittsburgh.”

Penguins lose despite Karlsson’s debut

The Penguins, who had their streak of 16 consecutive playoff appearances snapped last season, were hoping to start fresh with some new faces in their lineup. They acquired three-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks in August, hoping he would bolster their defense and power play.

Karlsson played over 23 minutes in his first game for the Penguins, but he did not record a point or a shot on goal. He also took a penalty in the third period that led to Guttman’s tying goal.

“It was not the result we wanted,” Karlsson said. “We had some good moments, but we also made some mistakes that cost us. We have to learn from this and move on.”

The Penguins also missed captain Kris Letang, who was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day with an upper-body injury. He is expected to miss at least two weeks.

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By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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