If the NHL hasn’t already gotten a proper introduction to Connor Bedard, it certainly has now.
It took the 2023 first-overall pick 12 games to get to his first career multi-point contest, but man, it was worth the wait.
Bedard scored two goals and had two assists on Thursday to help the Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3.
He followed that up with another two goals against the Florida Panthers on Sunday.
Yeah, four goals and six points against the previous two Eastern Conference champions.
And, of course, Bedard’s multi-point performance had to be flashy:
Connor Bedard has become the youngest player in Blackhawks history to record a multi-goal game 🤩 pic.twitter.com/EwqVgEf058
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 10, 2023
The 18-year-old just casually torched one of Tampa Bay’s best shutdown centers and finished it off with a nice backhand move.
Because, of course, that’s what Bedard does.
He then followed that up with two absolutely wild goals against the Panthers.
His first? He stripped Kevin Stenlund of the puck and beat Sergei Bobrovsky with a shot from an impossible angle.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) November 12, 2023
He followed that up with a quick shot off the rush from another wide angle.
“Oh yeah, those are special. Both of them, just great individual efforts. That’s what he does for you. I’ve played with a couple like that; you call them ‘gamebreakers.’ They either win you the game or they keep you in a game,” Blackhawks forward Nick Foligno said after their 4-3 loss to the Panthers.
“Like tonight, where maybe we didn’t deserve that, but he’s able to do it sometimes. The way he plays and his individual efforts and abilities. You appreciate it because you don’t want it to bail you out every night, but those are the guys that can sometimes get you a win that you maybe don’t deserve.
“I was hoping he was going to get that third one, but it’s nice to see him rolling and feeling good about it. You can see the game is starting to slow down for him, which is scary.”
Here are a few more of the NHL’s most fun storylines in this week’s edition of ‘Top Cheese.’
Radko Gudas Plays Pinball
I know we talked about an ex-Panther on the Anaheim Ducks last week, but I have to put this in here.
In the third period of Anaheim’s 4-1 win over the Sharks, Radko Gudas scored a goal that nobody has ever seen before.
Gudas took a slap shot that popped off the stick of fellow ex-Panther Mike Hoffman before soaring in the air like a baseball pop-up.
Marc-Eduoard Vlasic frantically tried to swipe at it with his glove but it ended up plopping on the ice behind Blackwood for a Ducks goal.
You have to watch it…
Always great to witness baseball history at a hockey game pic.twitter.com/rHljpyOj5o
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 13, 2023
Blackwood told SJHN’s Sheng Peng that he did not see the puck at all on that play, nor did he see the replay.
Oh yeah, Frank Vatrano added two more goals in that game, too. He’s up to 11 this year.
The Panthers get to say hello to their pals Friday in Anaheim.
The OilShark Bowl
The hockey world collectively decided to stay up past midnight to watch the two worst teams in hockey duke it out, and man, it was chaotic.
After earning their first win of the season just two days earlier, the 1-10-1 San Jose Sharks took down Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers in a 3-2 thriller.
The OilShark Bowl (as dubbed by Pete Blackburn) lived up to the hype.
Mackenzie Blackwood came up with 39 saves against an Oilers offense which has been struggling to get much going as of late.
That includes this absolutely ridiculous save on Leon Draisaitl:
Mackenzie Blackwood is back on his bullshit. pic.twitter.com/1aqzUU4Qbg
— JD Young (@MyFryHole) November 10, 2023
This game proved three things…
1. The Edmonton Oilers have some serious problems that need to be addressed. And it goes way further than in goal, with this loss coming after they sent $5 million AAV netminder Jack Campbell to the AHL. (Although his first start down there didn’t go so well…)
2. Hockey can be a chaotic mess that can bring a ton of fun out of even the worst match-ups in the league. The tweets made about this Sharks team over the last few days have certainly proved that.
Sharks vs. Oilers right now pic.twitter.com/4o6kSEE5da
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) November 10, 2023
Oilers vs. Sharks: pic.twitter.com/Vm0Vz1kEGm
— Ava (@avatarrant) November 9, 2023
3. Man, some team that needs a goalie should really reach out to the Sharks about Blackwood.
Regular-Season Nikita Kucherov is Back
Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov had a couple of monster performances to put himself in the league scoring race.
He tallied a goal and four assists in Ottawa on Nov. 4 before going blow-for-blow with Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews in one of the most entertaining games of the season thusfar.
Kucherov’s two goals and two assists outmatched Matthews and his two-goal, one assist performance but the Maple Leafs walked out with a 6-5 overtime victory.
He leads the league in points since Nov. 4, picking up five goals and 12 points in that span.
Oh yeah, he missed a game due to an illness in that span, too.
Pretty, pretty good….
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS @ SAN JOSE SHARKS
- When: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m.
- Where: SAP Center; San Jose, Calif.
- Streaming ONLY: ESPN+/Hulu
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932; NHL App
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- This season — Florida Leads 1-0: @Florida 3, San Jose 1 (Oct. 24); @San Jose, Tuesday
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 22-13-1, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. (BSF)