TAMPA, Fla. — Top draft pick Connor Bedard had his first multi-point game with two goals and two assists as the Chicago Blackhawks beat Tampa Bay 5-3 on Thursday night to snap an eight-game losing streak against the Lightning.
Bedard powered Chicago to its first win over the Lightning since a 4-3 shootout victory on March 5, 2021.
“I think it’s just kind of sticking with it,” Bedard said of the biggest night in his young NHL career. “I felt like there were games when I could have created more than this and I had zero points. That’s how things go sometimes. It feels good to get on the scoresheet.”
At 18 years, 115 days, Bedard is the third-youngest player to record a four-point game in NHL history, behind only Ted Kennedy (18 years, 27 days) in 1944 and Bep Guidolin (18 years, 58 days) in 1944, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Rookie defenseman Kevin Korchinski and ex-Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Corey Perry also scored for Chicago. Nick Foligno had three assists and Petr Mrazek made 30 saves.
Anthony Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning, who lost in regulation for the first time in seven home games this season (4-1-2). Jonas Johansson made 24 saves.
“Listen, we had the momentum in this game clearly for the first 10-12 minutes, whatever it was,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We gave the momentum back with our self-inflicted errors, plain and simple. Turnovers, lack of execution and we just gave them freebies. It’s tough to win if you’re going to continue to do that.”
The Lightning controlled play for most of the first period, yet the Blackhawks led 4-2 at the break.
Cirelli’s one-timer from the slot on the power play at 3:20 put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0. Bedard tied it at 4:42, converting a pass from Philipp Kurashev.
“He created the whole first goal,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “He was on the defenseman hard, and he has a good stick, good stick skills. He’s not in there slashing; he’s lifting sticks and disrupting things. Good things happen when you play hard in the right way.”
Bedard, the top pick in the 2023 draft, has seven goals and 11 points in his first 12 NHL games.
“He’s new to the league; he’s been here for a dozen games,” Richardson said. “He’s starting to really figure it out, use his skills to the best of his ability. It paid off for him, and for us, tonight.”
Kucherov, who entered the game with an NHL-leading 22 points, put the Lightning back in front at 12:31. But the Blackhawks closed the period with three goals in 3:07. Korchinski tied it at 16:43 with his first NHL goal, Bedard stole the puck from Kucherov and set up Johnson’s score at 17:38, then got credit for his second goal of the night and seventh of the season at 19:52 when a rebound of his shot hit Cirelli and slid past Johansson.
Perry tipped in Bedard’s shot on a power play 2:12 into the second period for a 5-2 lead. He had a couple of wide-open chances for a hat trick, but couldn’t get another puck past Johansson.
“You play and you always want to score,” he said. “But I wasn’t trying to force anything. If it had come, it would have been great.”
Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev said he and his teammates were to blame for Bedard’s big night.
“He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but we just gave it to him,” Sergachev said. “It’s totally on us.”
Stamkos scored with 2:10 remaining in regulation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.