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Chicago Blackhawks beat Ottawa Senators 3-2 behind Connor Bedard


Hours before Saturday’s matinee against the Ottawa Senators at the United Center, coach Luke Richardson pondered the intangible juju that Connor Bedard had sprinkled on the Chicago Blackhawks with his mere presence.

Richardson compared it to the impact of Sidney Crosby on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Connor McDavid on the Edmonton Oilers.

“Connor had that impact not just on the fans, but on the game itself,” Richardson said. “We know what he can do, and he’s only one game down (due to a jaw injury he sustained on Thursday). He dusted himself off in the first period and was pretty explosive in the second period.”

“A few more moves could have turned out the way he wanted, he could have had a bigger night.”

The “Connor Effect” didn’t need every bounce to succeed, but he took advantage of enough of the bounces he did get to turn around the fortunes of a Hawks team that’s been struggling badly of late.

Bedard’s second-period goal sparked the Hawks’ 3-2 comeback victory over the Senators and ended their season-high eight-game winning streak.

“Yeah, it was a pretty bad shot,” Bedard said. “But it’s important.”

“He just went through the motions,” Richardson said after the game. “He loves to play, he loves to score goals and help the team that way.”

Bedard, who returned after a 14-game absence from jaw surgery, did not miss a beat. He had an assist against the Penguins on Thursday and had a goal and an assist on Saturday.

“Awesome,” Bedard said. “It’s great, especially to come back and be home for a few games and feel that energy and stuff like that. It’s been a long time coming for me to win.”

Bedard last tasted victory on December 27 against the Winnipeg Jets.

“We were on a (six) game losing streak when I played … and it’s hard to watch when we’re losing,” he said. “So it feels good for all of us to get that.”

Saturday’s victory also extended the Hawks’ winning streak against the Senators to 11 games.

The Hawks made the early breakthrough as Bedard and Kurashev set up Nick Foligno for the opening goal with 6 minutes, 31 seconds left in the first period.—

Blackhawks left wing Nick Foligno celebrates with teammates Connor Bedard (98) and Jaycob Megna (24) after scoring a goal in the first period against the Senators at the United Center on Feb. 17, 2024.

But at 15:57, that line got greedy in the offensive zone and the Senators made them pay at the other end, intercepting Kevin Korchinski on a two-on-one rush. Tim Stützle completed Claude Giroux’s backdoor pass to make the score 1-1.

The Hawks’ penalty kick shut down opponents’ power plays in four consecutive games but gave up one to Jakob Chychrun in the second period. However, the Hawks responded with Bedard’s goal on the counter-attack.

In the third period, Bedard nearly scored the go-ahead goal with a forehand-backhand trick, but the Senators bench challenged and the Hawks were ruled offside.

Jason Dickinson did the honors in his place.

The Hawks forward somehow got a solid stick hold on the puck after a wild scramble on the court and fell to the ice as he punched in the winner with 1:52 left in the game.

“It’s definitely great. It helps morale,” Dickinson said. “We haven’t been happy with our 60-minute effort in the last few games and tonight we scored less than two goals.

“It was a bit touch-and-go at times, but we stuck with it for 60 years.”

Bedard added: “We felt pretty good going into the third and with the draw and Mráz (goalkeeper Petr Mrázek) playing well. We just needed it and we got it, so it was a good feeling.”

Mrázek faced 42 shots and made 40 saves.

“There were a lot of shots coming from the blue line and I could see a lot of pucks,” he said. “So it’s always nice to get some action.”


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