BOSTON (AP) With Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito and other hockey greats in the building to celebrate the start of the Bruins' 100th season, Blackhawks phenom Connor Bedard took another early step toward joining them on Wednesday night when he scored his first career NHL goal.
“It’s a big relief,” said Bedard, who posed with the puck in the locker room after the 3-1 loss to Boston. “You want to get one really bad, quick, and kind of get that out of the way. But it was really cool moment and cool building to do it in.”
David Pastrnak scored to break a second-period tie and added an empty-netter for Boston, which won its season opener a year after setting NHL records for wins and points but then losing in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bruins victory spoiled the milestone for Bedard, the league's most anticipated rookie in nearly a decade. The No. 1 overall draft pick also registered his first penalty and gave the Blackhawks a scare when he crashed into the boards skates-first late in the third period and was slow getting up.
He remained in the game and pronounced himself “great” afterward.
“I think he was more gassed, and tired and disappointed that he missed,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. “He’s fine. He just missed a chance there. When he was going in there, I thought the game was going to be tied.”
Trent Frederic also scored for Boston and reigning Vezina Trophy-winner Linus Ullmark made 20 saves. Matthew Poitras, the Bruins’ top rookie, assisted on Frederic’s goal for his first career NHL point.
Arvid Soderblom stopped 32 shots for the Blackhawks, who beat Pittsburgh in their opener on Tuesday, when Bedard had an assist for his first NHL point. He topped that in Boston when he scored on a wraparound that beat Ullmark and made it 1-0.
“I remember, like, being behind the net and kind of seeing it and I was just like, ‘Don’t screw this up,’” Bedard said. “And then once it went in, just a lot of joy, for sure."
Frederic tied it midway through the first and Pastrnak beat Soderblom on his glove side to give Boston the lead on a feed from Milan Lucic. Pastrnak made it 3-1 with just under a minute left when Soderblom was pulled for an extra skater.
Bedard drew a penalty for tripping Brad Marchand in the second period. He remained in the game after his awkward collision into the boards with about five minutes left, but was working out the kinks in his right shoulder after talking to reporters in the locker room.
Boston rookie Johnny Beecher picked up his first penalty when he got in a fight with Jason Dickinson in the third period.
Chicago forward Taylor Hall did not play in the third period after leaving the ice in the second following a hit from Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. Hall, who played in Boston last year, tried one more shift but then told the trainers he was done.
Richardson pronounced the 2010 No. 1 overall pick week-to-week with an unspecified upper body injury.
“I think - especially being in Boston - he really wanted to get back out there and give it a go,” Richardson said, saying the blindside hit from Brandon Carlo was illegal. “I know exactly what it is because I used to do it all the time. But now it’s not in the game. So we just hope that there’s not a lot of those there that we see because they’re they’re not great for anybody.”
A CENTURY OF BRUINS
The Bruins opened their 100th season with a ceremony to welcome back some of their greats, including Orr, Esposito and Ray Bourque. More recent players and members of the 2011 Stanley Cup champions included Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara.
Family members representing the late Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper and Milt Schmidt also took part. Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958, appeared by video from his home in San Diego.
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