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Blackhawks Postgame Chatter: ‘I Thought He Was Excellent’

Mrazek was steady between the pipes while a well rounded effort from Bedard sealed it

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CHICAGO – Petr Mrazek stole the game but Connor Bedard stole the show. Mrazek was a magician again, making 37 saves and having some puck luck go his way in the Blackhawks 2-1 overtime victory over Winnipeg Wednesday night. But Bedard burying both goals–which included the overtime tally, stole the heart and minds of every Blackhawks fan in the United Center and beyond.

Head coach Luke Richardson liked Bedard’s game beyond the goal scoring, too.

“I thought he was excellent, not just with the puck tonight but even away from the puck,” Richardson said.  “We’ve asked him to add some things to his game and figure some things out at this level when he doesn’t have the puck and he was good in the D zone a couple of times in the right position, playing Morrissey 1-on-1, bearing down on it. [He] had a nice finished check on Morrissey in the first period, which we ask our players to do because that’s crucial when you play Winnipeg.”

Bedard, for his part on the physical side, wasn’t sure it wore down a tenacious Jets forecheck and attack.

“Yeah, I don’t know–they’ve got a lot of really good players,” Bedard said.  “And when you keep finishing the checks, maybe it wears on them a little bit. But, no, they’re a great team. And we knew going on their D they’ve got some guys that can really get up the ice and make some plays. So try to finish them and maybe not let them get up.”

Mrazek wore on the Jets a bit, too.

Blackhawks Victory Belonged to Mrazek, Too

It was kudos all around from Richardson to defenseman Connor Murphy to Bedard who all gave a stick tap to the 31-year-old veteran who’s been rock solid all season long.

Speaking about Bedard and Mrazek, Murphy couldn’t say enough.

“A couple of guys who have played really well and been standouts for us,” Murphy said.  “And helping with almost every win that we’ve had–it’s a common trend, them stepping up and taking over certain aspects of the game.”

The rookie gushed about Mrazek’s performance.

“Yeah, it’s crazy some of the saves he makes on a nightly basis,” Bedard said.  “He’s been unreal every game and whether it’s him or Soderblom, we got a lot of trust in both. Obviously Raz tonight was pretty special. So it was huge for us.”

When it comes to the bench boss, Richardson saw what everyone else did–a goalie standing on his head to give his team the best chance to win.

“Petr’s been great for us all year and I think getting him that goal in overtime was really deserving because he kept us in there tonight for sure,” Richardson said.  “We didn’t have our greatest start, we were a little bit rusty after a few days off. But the penalty killing was big and that’s part of Petr as well.”

Mrazek agreed with how well the penalty killing units were.

“Big part of the game for us — penalty kill,” Mrazek said.  “When you kill four or five penalties, especially in the third period, like you said three minutes, it gives you confidence and helps to win games.”

The confidence is surging after a win like that. Now to see if they can steal a few more on the five-game road trip.

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