Connor Bedard finally got that first NHL goal–just two games in. But it wasn’t enough for the Chicago Blackhawks to overcome the feisty and snarling Boston Bruins in its home opener Wednesday.
They also lost more than just the game. Forward Taylor Hall is week-to-week after suffering an upper body injury in the second period. He tried to return later in the period, but left again. He didn’t play in the third period.
But it was Bedard’s moment early on, putting the Blackhawks up 1-0. Instead of one of his wicked wrist shots or one where he deftly can put it through a crowd, it was a neat little tuck after a wrap around that potted his first of the season–and of his career.
CONNOR BEDARD WITH HIS FIRST NHL GOAL 🥳🚨 pic.twitter.com/pQeHIDx7WO
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 11, 2023
But the opposite happened as it did opening night where instead of rallying from a deficit, Chicago saw the Bruins pot two before adding an empty netter to finish things off.
But it was a physical game that certainly tested the mettle of the Blackhawks, especially a couple scraps from some unusual sources.
Dickinson Drops the Gloves After Guttman Run
The Blackhawks brought in the likes of Nick Foligno and Corey Perry to patrol and ensure the younger players weren’t run. But it was Jason Dickinson, the hero a night earlier, who came to the aid of Cole Guttman who was run by John Beecher. Beecher picked up a boarding penalty, and Dickinson made sure he knew it wasn’t appreciated or tolerated.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 12, 2023
With the roster trending younger, it’s not so much that they need to be protected. It’s more about understanding when it’s time to jump in and protect that teammate, a culture building that the Blackhawks emphasized with the off-the-ice bonding with its youngsters. Though Dickinson wasn’t a part of that, he knows what is expected and he jumped into the fracas to ensure a message was sent.
The scrap cost Dickinson a two minute (instigator), five (fighting), and ten (misconduct) but it sets the tone early for a team trying to forge an identity for the younger core.
Blackhawks Struggle To Replicate Tuesday’s Energy
Bedard’s goal got them on the board first but Chicago was outshot heavily 33-21. Some of that had to do without having Hall available, which meant line shifting. One intriguing option would be to maybe shift Lukas Reichel up beside Bedard to jump start his offensive chances. Reichel hasn’t been bad by any stretch but certainly the Hawks have to try and get him going.
Chicago doesn’t play again until Saturday when they face Montreal.