Ottawa Senators blank Connor Bedard’s Chicago Blackhawks

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Just like when Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin or any other NHL stars come to Ottawa, Thursday, March 28 was a date for local hockey fans to circle on their calendar: The debut in the nation’s capital of rookie sensation Connor Bedard.

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Coming in off an impressive 6-2 win Wednesday in Buffalo (where they jumped out to a 5-0 first-period lead), the Ottawa Senators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 Thursday at Canadian Tire Centre.

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The Senators scored 36 seconds into the game, with Claude Giroux beating Chicago goalie Petr Mrazek with a wristshot. Ottawa was shorthanded; Artem Zub took a tripping penalty nine seconds in.

It was 2-0 6:08 in when Parker Kelly intercepted a Chicago pass near the boards and took a shot that found the net.

There was no scoring in the second period.

As for Bedard, well, he didn’t have much of a chance to do much.

In 58 games in his rookie season, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NHL draft had 21 goals and 35 assists coming into Thursday’s game. He had a goal and an assist when the Blackhawks beat the Senators 3-2 Feb. 17 in Chicago.

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THE COACH SAYS: Asked about Bedard before the game, Senators coach Jacques Martin said: “He’s an exceptional player. We saw McDavid Sunday. McDavid has more of an element of speed than Bedard. Those players (both) have great skill. Connor is really good at getting people to commit, then making a move to get around them and take a shot, change the angle. What stands out the most about those high-end players is their ability to see the play before it materializes. They have a special sense, their anticipation is at another level.”

ICE CHIPS: It looked like the ice was tilted toward the Blackhawks’ end through much of the first 15 minutes; the Senators outshot them 16-7 in the first period … The Blackhawks are the second-worst team in the NHL, ahead of only San Jose. It’s not like the Senators are a lot better. But the Blackhawks are clearly a rebuilding team; the Senators need to accelerate their ascension into being a playoff team … With defenceman Thomas Chabot sidelined (it could be a day-to-day thing), Tyler Kleven was recalled to play … Former No. 1 overall pick Alexandre Daigle was at the game with his family … Take Me Home Country Roads always seems to be a hit when they play it in the arena. Redblacks, you listening?

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