Connor Bedard is already starting to look comfortable at the NHL level, and his game keeps improving by the day. In the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, Bedard showed signs of that with a four-point performance.
In the big road win, Bedard notched two goals and two assists. That made him the youngest player in Blackhawks history to record a multi-goal or four-point game, and he became the third-youngest player in NHL history to tally four points in a single contest.
Historic performances like that don’t just happen out of thin air. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said Bedard has been working on the finer points of his game after the two had a conversation about “being a little harder on the forecheck.” Almost instantly, Bedard was able to pick it up and use those pointers in game action.
“He’s new to the league, and he’s been here a dozen games now,” Richardson said. “He’s starting to really figure it out and use his skills at the best of his ability. It paid off for him and us tonight.”
Richardson highlighted Chicago’s first goal as an example of Bedard learning how to create his own scoring chances.
“He created the whole first goal,” Richardson said. “He was on the defenseman hard, and he has a good stick. He has good stick skills, so he’s not in there slashing. He’s in there lifting sticks. He turned the puck over, came back, and got the goal. That was great, and good things happen when you play the right way.”
Bedard himself was a little more humble when asked about his big night on the stat sheet. The 18-year-old phenom deflected credit to his teammates when asked about all the offense he generated against the Lightning.
“Like I said before, all those goals, you can look at other guys and see what they did,” Bedard said. “I got the benefit. The play by (Philipp Kurashev) on the first one was beautiful, and then Nick (Foligno) with three nice helpers. It was fun to get that and spread the scoring around for sure.”
With seven goals and 11 points through 12 games, Bedard is off to a hot start in the Calder Trophy race, and it seems like he will only keep working to advance his development.