Though the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves in second place in the Atlantic Division at this point in the year, they’ve certainly had their share of struggles on the defensive end. When the Blackhawks took the ice in Amalie Arena Thursday night, they wasted no time giving that unit all they could handle, scoring four goals in the first period and adding a fifth early in the second. Rookie Connor Bedard was flying all over the ice, knocking in two goals and an assist. The other score went to the other prized rookie in Chicago, as Kevin Korchinski netted his first career goal.
After three goals in the first handful of minutes, Korchinski kept the onslaught going 16:43 into the first period. After snapping the puck from a tough angle on the wing, it went off the skate of Darren Raddysh in front of the net for a pretty memorable first marker. It was officially assisted by Ryan Donato and Mackenzie Entwistle, and let in by Jonas Johansson.
A well-deserved score
Korchinski’s goal is a continuation of an excellent start to the season for the 19-year-old. He carried a plus-minus of -10 coming into the game, but he’s been one of the best defensemen on the team. He’s still a work in progress defensively, as is the case with most young blueliners. But he was primarily drafted for his offensive prowess, and it’s clear he’s a huge benefit to the attacking group on a nightly basis, even if his efforts don’t necessarily show up in the scoring column. He was finally rewarded Thursday night, though. Perhaps his first goal opens the floodgates for a scoring outburst? If any defenseman can score in chunks, it’s the former seventh-overall pick.
Thursday will likely be a night Korchinski will remember for a long time, and better yet, his mom was there to see it! The annual “Moms’ Trip” of the parents of Chicago’s skaters got off to a fast start, and it’s a great story for the Korchisnki family. The young star has been stellar to start the year, and his efforts were finally rewarded.