The Chicago Blackhawks came into Wednesday night’s action in the middle of a four-game road trip. They were blanked by the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night, but held it together all game long to try to claw their way back in the game. Looking to rebound from that defeat, they swapped goaltenders for this game, putting Arvid Soderblom in to face the Seattle Kraken.
Soderblom starts tonight vs Kraken. That means Mrazek will probably start tomorrow at Oilers.
Tinordi replaces Phillips. Rest of Blackhawks’ lineup the same, so Reichel remains scratched for second straight game.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) January 24, 2024
After a few minutes of back and forth to open up the game, the Kraken got the first goal of the game. Soderblom got caught staring down Jordan Eberle behind the net, even after he skated up a bit. Jared McCann got a wrist shot off that went right over the glove, putting the Kraken up 1–0. Just under three minutes later, the Kraken struck again. This time, Andre Burakovsky put a shot toward the net that was going way wide. Jaden Schwartz positioned himself right by the side of the net, and it deflected in off of his leg to make it 2–0 Seattle.
The Blackhawks were able to get one back, though, toward the end of the frame. After a couple of chances in front, the puck found its way back to Seth Jones at the point. He put a shot on net that redirected off of Joey Anderson in front, making it 2–1 Seattle to end the first.
JOEY ANDERSON GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLL pic.twitter.com/ppHsKPB6Lt
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 25, 2024
Sixteen seconds into the second, the Blackhawks let in perhaps the ugliest goal of the season. Jones attempted to get the puck out of harm’s way by passing it up to one of his forwards. Instead, the puck deflected off of Alex Vlasic’s skate, and went right past Soderblom, 3–1 Seattle. With two and a half minutes left in the frame, the Kraken would strike again. Brian Dumoulin passed the puck across the ice to Brandon Tanev in the right circle. He deflected the puck toward the net, and it just snuck it past Soderblom’s skate. The period would end with a 4–1 lead for Seattle.
The Blackhawks started off the period with a power play, as Burakovsky got called for a hold. Philipp Kurashev set up in the right circle. He got a pass across the ice to Nick Foligno, who tipped the puck into the back of the net, 4–2 Kraken. The Blackhawks got another huge opportunity with just under 16 minutes left in the frame. Rem Pitlick got the puck over to Ryan Donato on the breakaway. He went forehand to backhand to try to beat Joey Daccord, but could not slip the puck past him.
Seattle came roaring right back with a breakaway of their own. Tomas Tatar got the puck from Eberle at center ice. He skated right in, and tucked the puck past Soderblom, 5–2 Seattle. With just over three minutes to go in the period, Tatar would get another one. Will Borgen took a shot off of Soderblom’s pad that bounced right out to Tatar. He one-timed the puck into the back of the Blackhawks’ net, putting the Kraken up 6–2. That is how this one would end, giving the Blackhawks an 0–2 start to this road trip.
This was another weird game, if you are just going by the statistics. The game on TV did not match up with what the statistics would have you believe. The Blackhawks outshot the Kraken, killed off all power plays against them, got more takeaways, blocked more shots and laid more hits on their opponents.
It just goes to show you that a bad goaltending performance can cancel out all the good that the rest of the team may have put together. Soderblom was bad in this game, and in my opinion has been brutal all season. He should not be playing in the NHL right now, as it is clear to anyone watching that he needs more seasoning. I am not suggesting that the Hawks give up on him just because he has early-career Craig Anderson statistics to this point, but he really should not be the backup on this team right now.
The Blackhawks’ next game is on Thursday night against the red-hot Edmonton Oilers. That game will be at 8 p.m. CST on NBC Sports Chicago.