Chicago Blackhawks defeat Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in Connor Bedard's debut in Toronto


Chicago Blackhawks defeat Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in Connor Bedard’s debut in Toronto

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TORONTO — Auston Matthews and Connor Bedard took the spotlight ahead of an eagerly anticipated clash.

Matthews for his impressive consecutive hat tricks to kick off the NHL season.

And Bedard for his first appearance in hockey’s grandest stage.

However, it was a seasoned veteran and a substitute goalie who stole Monday’s show.

Corey Perry netted the decisive goal in the second period, while Arvid Soderblom made 35 saves, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs in Bedard’s debut in Toronto.

Soderblom commented, “It was an enjoyable game to be a part of. A fantastic team effort. The guys made it manageable for me. I had to step up in the crucial moments with a couple of significant saves, but overall, we put in a tremendous effort.”

MacKenzie Entwistle, Tyler Johnson, and Taylor Raddysh, with an empty-netter, registered the other goals for Chicago (2-2-0). Andreas Athanasiou contributed two assists.

Entwistle remarked, “We stuck to our game plan. We had numerous crucial blocks, and Soderblom’s performance was exceptional. It was a great experience.]]

The highly anticipated showdown between Auston Matthews and the NHL’s most talked-about newcomer since Connor McDavid, Connor Bedard, set the stage for an exciting clash.

Although Bedard had made an impact in his first three NHL games, the 18-year-old top pick at the 2023 draft remained off the scoresheet this time. MacKenzie Entwistle’s comments about Bedard reflected the team’s confidence in his abilities and character, despite the scoreless night.

John Tavares responded for Toronto (2-1-0), while Joseph Woll made 26 saves in his season debut.

“We were quite sloppy with our play in the first period,” remarked Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe. “And we got caught off guard in the second.”

Despite entering the season with back-to-back hat tricks, Leafs center Auston Matthews struggled to find his rhythm, as Toronto’s offense was stymied after a strong start to the season.

Perry’s crucial goal in the second period, followed by Johnson’s power-play marker, shifted the game in favor of the Blackhawks.

The tense matchup saw Soderblom make some game-saving stops for the Blackhawks, frustrating the Leafs’ efforts to mount a late comeback.

Bedard, in the midst of his first NHL road trip, displayed glimpses of his potential, drawing inspiration from Matthews’ playing style.

The return of Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall from injury bolstered the team’s lineup.

The ongoing road trip for the Blackhawks will conclude with a matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, while the Leafs will kick off a five-game road stint in Florida.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 16, 2023.

Follow @JClipperton_CP on X.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press


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