The St. Louis Blues pulled off an incredible comeback on Friday night, erasing a three-goal third period deficit to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5. Jordan Kyrou led the charge with two goals in the final frame, as the Blues tallied five unanswered to shock Chicago on home ice. However, the game’s highlight was Blackhawks phenom Connor Bedard pulling off a dazzling “Michigan” goal that is an early contender for goal of the year.
Bedard’s Michigan Stuns Blues and Electrifies Fans
In the second period with his team trailing 3-1, the 18-year-old Bedard picked up a loose puck behind the Blues’ net. In lacrosse-style fashion, he scooped the puck onto the blade of his stick and swiftly wrapped it top shelf past a stunned Jordan Binnington:
Two Michigan goals in one night. A gift to you, hockey fans. 🎁 pic.twitter.com/4dFhhg3s5h
— NHL (@NHL) December 24, 2023
The jaw-dropping tally brought Blackhawks fans to their feet and silenced the crowd in St. Louis. NHL legends and fans alike took to social media in awe of the skill the rookie displayed:
“That’s the goal of the year candidate right there,” said Wayne Gretzky. “Wonderful wonderful play by Connor Bedard.”
“I think there’s a good chance Connor Bedard just scored the goal of the year,” one fan wrote.
The Michigan energized the young Blackhawks squad as they carried a 5-2 lead into the final period. But unfortunately for Chicago, Bedard’s heroics wouldn’t be enough.
Blues Catch Fire in Third Period to Complete Comeback
Down three goals entering the third, the Blues turned on the jets and blitzed the Blackhawks with an onslaught of offense. Jordan Kyrou struck twice in a three minute span to cut the deficit to one. Teammate Ivan Barbashev then knotted the game at 5-5 with half the period still to play:
|Kyrou goal (18:12), Blackhawks 5-3 Blues
|Kyrou goal (15:15), Blackhawks 5-4 Blues
|Barbashev goal (9:46), Tied 5-5
Robert Thomas would give St. Louis its first lead of the night minutes later, before Pavel Buchnevich and Noel Acciari padded the lead with empty netters. The five third period goals left Blackhawks players and fans stunned by the sudden collapse:
“We just let our foot off the gas pedal,” remarked Chicago forward Tyler Johnson.
The deflating loss puts a sour end to a four-game road trip for Chicago right before the holiday break. As the team digests another blown multi-goal lead, veterans must find a way to instill confidence in young players like Bedard after such collapses:
“The leadership group has to take ownership of this loss,” Johnson emphasized. “We can’t put too much on Connor after that special play he made.”
On the flip side, the victory catapults the Blues into the holiday break on a high. Coming off an 8-2 drubbing by Toronto earlier in the week, the come-from-behind effort shows the mental resolve this squad possesses:
“This is huge for us,” said St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk. “To turn it around like that at home going into the break feels amazing.”
The win pushes St. Louis back to .500 at 17-17-3. They currently occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference by a single point over Calgary.
Meanwhile, Chicago falls to 11-25-4 as their rebuilding efforts continue. But the Blackhawks appear positioned for brighter days ahead with burgeoning talent like Bedard leading the way.
What This Means for the Blackhawks and Blues Moving Forward
Blackhawks – Despite Bedard’s brilliance, this loss cuts deep for Chicago. Blowing three-goal leads is unacceptable, especially for a young group needing to build confidence. Veterans must step up, and coach Luke Richardson needs solutions to fix this team’s third period woes. The upcoming holiday break provides a chance for reflection before a New Year’s Eve tilt with the Blues.
Blues – With the Blues barely holding onto a playoff spot, this dramatic victory could spark a post-holiday push up the standings. St. Louis has struggled with inconsistency all year, but this comeback shows the talent and resilience of their roster. Playing at home out West, the Blues hope this win provides momentum into 2023.
Bedard Dazzles in Defeat
Though his Blackhawks crumbled late, Connor Bedard’s Michigan goal introduced his brilliance to the hockey world. The Blues seemed to have no answer for Bedard prior to their five-goal barrage. If the ‘Hawks can improve complementary pieces around their young star, Chicago’s future remains incredibly bright. For now, Bedard’s wizardry provides a lone bright spot in another rebuilding season.
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