Bedard scores first career OT winner to send Blackhawks past Jets
Bedard, who leads NHL rookies in scoring, sent a wrist shot under the glove of Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck for the first OT goal of his career and his 15th of the season as Chicago earned just its second win in eight games.
“It was obviously nice to get the winner in overtime,” said Bedard, who recorded his third two-goal game. “I don't know if I thought about it overly, but it feels nice.”
Bedard has three goals in his last two games and extended his points streak to five games. The 18-year-old centre has three goals and five assists in the span and 14 goals and 32 points in 34 games overall. He is the third-youngest player in NHL history to score his first OT goal. At 18 years, 163 days, he is behind Sidney Crosby (18 years, 101 days), who scored on Nov. 16, 2005, and Jordan Staal (18 years, 153 days), who scored on Feb. 10, 2007.
“He's a guy that it's hard to know when he releases the puck because he's coming down and he can shoot it at any time,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. “He seems to hold on to it longer than other people and still get a hard enough shot off that's going to beat a world-class goalie like that.”
Morgan Barron scored in regulation for Winnipeg, which lost for the second time in 11 contests (8-1-2).
“I felt like we carried the play for a lot of the game," Barron said. “For the first game after the (Christmas) break, you obviously want to come away with a win. But to get a point and to play well, it’s going to help us kind of get back on track.”
Petr Mrazek made 37 saves for Chicago as Winnipeg built a 38-25 advantage in shots on goal. The 31-year-old Czech goalie had another solid effort in a resurgent season after a groin injury dogged him for two years.
“Give Mrazek a lot of credit," Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “He was outstanding. Four goalposts and a crossbar. It was just one of those nights for him. We certainly created enough opportunities in the hockey game. We didn't score.”
Hellebuyck finished with 23 saves.
The Jets dominated early and took the first eight shots on goal. The sellout crowd of 20,540 groaned a derisive cheer when Chicago’s Anthony Beauvillier finally wristed the Blackhawks' first shot on Hellebuyck with 5:04 left in the first.
Then, the Blackhawks came on with a flurry as Bedard opened the scoring with 4:03 remaining.
Connor Murphy held the puck in on the right boards, then fed Bedard in the right circle for a one-timer. Hellebuyck stopped it, but Bedard charged to the net and scored on the rebound.
“I just kept kind of whacking it and eventually it went in,” Bedard said. “You gotta have some of those kind of garbage ones and that might have been my first one like that.”
The Jets took over again in the second. Barron tied it at 1 at 3:47, taking a cross-ice pass from Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and scoring between Mrazek’s pads.
Mrazek was sharp the rest of the period as Winnipeg outshot Chicago 14-7 in the frame. Among his best stops was a close-in glove save on Nikolaj Ehlers with just over 6 minutes left.
Dominic Toninato, playing his first game this season for Winnipeg, hit the post with a shot midway through the scoreless third. The Blackhawks killed a penalty to Jarred Tinordi for tripping Nino Niederreiter with 2:56 left in regulation.
Earlier Wednesday, coach Luke Richardson said top defenceman Seth Jones, out since Dec. 10 with a shoulder injury, is expected to resume skating in about a week.
Toninato replaced David Gustafsson, a late scratch with a lower-body injury.
Jets: Host Minnesota on Saturday.
Blackhawks: At Dallas on Friday to start five-game trip.
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