Connor Bedard, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, was unable to register a shot on goal during his 19 minutes and 37 seconds of ice time for the Blackhawks (2-3-0) in the final game of their season-opening five-game road trip. Petr Mrazek made an impressive 37 saves.
“We had a strong start in the first 10 minutes, but unfortunately, they managed to score a short-handed goal and a power-play goal. After that, it felt like we were constantly playing catch-up,” explained Chicago coach Luke Richardson. “Their stickhandling skills are exceptional, and their speed is unmatched. So, when we started to slow down towards the end of the first period and attempted to make plays while standing still, they completely overwhelmed us.”
O’Connor gave the Colorado team a 1-0 lead when Andrew Cogliano set him up for a breakaway during a penalty kill at 11:46 of the first period.
“Scoring that early in the game while shorthanded was definitely a great way to kick-start the match,” expressed O’Connor. “[Josh Manson] did a fantastic job of pressuring their players and cutting off their space as they entered our territory. From there, I just analyzed the players moving up the ice and anticipated that we would gain possession. ‘Manse’ and ‘Cogs’ both made exceptional plays to set me up for the breakaway.”
Johansen extended the lead to 2-0 on a power play, skillfully batting his own rebound out of the air at 18:41.
“He has had some incredible opportunities and has played a key role in several of our goals,” praised Bednar. “I was impressed with his determination and hunger to score at the net. He stayed focused and capitalized on a loose puck. That’s a prime example of what he’s capable of.”
Sarah Anderson dives into the fast-paced world of NHL hockey. Her coverage includes game analysis, player spotlights, and the latest news from the ice. Sarah’s dedication to the sport ensures that hockey enthusiasts stay informed about the NHL’s thrilling action.