Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard thought he had scored his second goal in the last two games Tuesday, blasting a one-timer into the top corner of the net on a power play.
But a razor-thin offside call on an entry by Andreas Athanasiou several dozen seconds earlier took the goal off the board, and the Hawks never again ignited the horn in a 3-0 loss to the Bruins.
The Bruins, who improved to 6-0-0, took control territorially in the second period, then scored twice in a 56-second span early in the third to take control of the scoreboard, too. Petr Mrazek’s 40 saves made no difference.
“For the most part, we’ve given ourselves chances [to win],” forward Corey Perry said. “We just haven’t been able, in the third period, to get that goal to get that momentum back.”
The Hawks have lost three games in a row, all against teams that entered play Tuesday with undefeated records. That is only one hard-to-believe aspect of their brutal early-season schedule that features multiple matchups against the Bruins, Golden Knights, Panthers and Lightning among the first 14 games.
There’s no doubt the Hawks’ and Bruins’ familiarity with each other from the first week of the season affected things Tuesday. Both teams entered the game with a sense of how the other’s systems interacted with theirs and with ideas for how to exploit that.
That dynamic will unfold again when the Hawks visit the Knights on Friday, less than a week after the teams’ first meeting.
But coach Luke Richardson was more frustrated than he has been in months Tuesday night, giving his team no slack despite the difficult schedule.
“I’m kind of at the point [where] I’m tired,” Richardson said. “One year is enough of, ‘We’re a hard-working team.’ We want to push for more this year. We start off with a good intention but I find the other teams not [exactly] outwork us — like work ethic-wise — but I want to say the hardness of the work.”
Forward Philipp Kurashev played 17:45 in his season debut returning from a wrist injury and even took some shifts with Bedard in the waning minutes.
“When you don’t practice with the team, obviously you don’t have the timing of all the routes and stuff,” Kurashev said. “So that was the biggest thing, but I got into it at the end of the game.”
Korchinski plan: Status quo
Rookie defenseman Kevin Korchinski logged his seventh NHL appearance of the season against the Bruins, having averaged close to 20 minutes so far.
He’s three games away from reaching the 10-game threshold and burning the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract, and the Hawks have given zero indication he’ll be returned to his junior team before then.
He appears to be locked in — for now at least — in the Hawks’ defensive top four. Richardson said he hasn’t had any conversations with general manager Kyle Davidson about changing Korchinski’s development plan.
“He’s progressing really well,” Richardson said. “He really likes to take in information, and he’s open and receptive to it and puts it into his game. To me, that’s a sign of a good pro. He looks excellent out there. There’s a couple of little bumps or the puck bounces against you, but that happens to everybody.
“We’re just happy he’s doing well. It looks like as long as his progression stays the same, we’ll just keep going.”
More weird scheduling
The Hawks were part of a new scheduling feature by the NHL on Tuesday. Dubbed the “Frozen Frenzy,” all 32 teams across the league participated in 16 spaced-out games, while an “NFL Red Zone”-style show on ESPN2 jumped from game to game during the course of seven hours.
A power outage in Columbus that delayed the Ducks-Blue Jackets game led to the start of the Bruins-Hawks game being pushed back 15 minutes to preserve separation.
After Tuesday, however, the Hawks will have plenty of time to relax. They’ll play only two games in the next 10 days and six in the next 22. Aside from a home back-to-back Nov. 4-5 against the Panthers and Devils, they’ll have multiple days off between every game.
Because the 2023-24 season will run a bit longer than usual and because the league is backloading the bulk of games until after the NFL season, it’s the lightest stretch of a Hawks regular-season slate in recent memory.