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10 observations: Connor Bedard, Petr Mrazek lift Blackhawks past Senators to snap winless streak

In Sports
February 18, 2024

10 observations: Connor Bedard, Petr Mrazek lift Blackhawks past Senators to snap winless streak originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks snapped an eight-game winless streak after beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday at the United Center.

Here are 10 observations from the win:

1. Connor Bedard has been back for two games, and he’s already heating up. He scored a goal and an assist for his seventh multi-point outing of the season, giving him three points (one goal, two assists) since returning from injury. He scored a second goal in the third period but it was taken away because of an offside challenge. It’s amazing how much he changes the dynamic of the lineup, even at 18 years old.

2. Bedard’s line as a whole was on the ice for quite a few scoring chances against but they made up for it by capitalizing on their offensive chances. Nick Foligno scored his 12th goal of the season, and Philipp Kurashev assisted on both Foligno’s goal and Bedard’s. The Blackhawks finally have a first line again.

3. The Blackhawks gave up 22 shots in the second period. Petr Mrazek stopped all but one of them, which came on the power play. He finished with 40 saves on 42 shots for a save percentage of .952 and saved 1.4 goals above expected, per Natural Stat Trick. He was excellent.

4. Jason Dickinson scored the go-ahead goal with 1:52 left in regulation after following up his own shot. It was his 17th goal of the season. His career campaign continues.

5. It looked like Kevin Korchinski was benched for the second half of the middle frame after making an overly aggressive pinch that led to an odd-man rush. He took only three shifts in the period. I respect the decision by Luke Richardson, who’s probably trying to strike the right balance between letting his young players make mistakes but also holding them accountable.

6. Scary moment in the first period when referee Furman South took a puck to the head off a Boris Katchouk shot from a sharp angle. South laid on the ice for a bit before heading to the medical room with a towel above his eye. The ice crew needed a minute to clean up the ice after because of the blood. Fortunately, South returned later in the game after getting stitched up.

7. The Blackhawks improved to 17-2-1 in their last 20 games against the Senators and 12-1-0 against them in their past 13 at the United Center.

8. The Senators are having an extremely disappointing season, which culminated in a general manager change in November and a coaching change in December. They’re still near the bottom of the standings. They’re much better than they’ve shown.

9. Anthony Beauvillier has been cleared for contact and practiced with the team on Friday for the first time since suffering a bone fracture in his wrist on Jan. 2 in Nashville. He didn’t play in this game but could make his return as soon as Monday vs. Carolina.

10. Blackhawks goaltending prospect Jaxson Stauber made history on Friday night after becoming the first player in AHL history to score a goal and record a shutout in the same game. He’s the 23rd goaltender in league history to score a goal; his father Robb Stauber has one of them too after he scored one on Oct. 9, 1995 in Rochester.

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