Get Chicago's Best Sports Content In Your Inbox!

Become a smarter Chicago sports fan with the latest game recaps, analysis and exclusive content from CHGO’s writers and podcasters!

Just drop your email below!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate CHGO Sports Community!

Hawks Hits: Blackhawks Win Streak Snapped With Loss to Kings

Mario Tirabassi Avatar
March 16, 2024

Well the win-streak was fun while it lasted, right? After scoring seven goals in each of their last two games, both victories, the Chicago Blackhawks laid a giant egg against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night, 5-0.

The Blackhawks were obviously facing a tougher opponent in the Kings tonight than they had against the Coyotes or Ducks in their last three wins, but with the way the club had been playing in their recent stretch, you wouldn’t have thought the drop-off in play would have been so steep, so quickly. 2020 third-round draft pick Landon Slaggert was making his NHL debut with the club, maybe he was the problem?

No, I’m joking obviously.

Arvid Söderblom got the start in net, but he wouldn’t finish the game in net. After allowing four goals on 16 shots to begin the game, head coach Luke Richardson pulled the Swedish goaltender and in came Petr Mrazek, who fared better with 22 saves on 23 shots.

Chicago got off to a slow start and never had the jump to recover, even with four powerplays in the game. With the loss, the Blackhawks fall to 18-44-5 with 41 points for the season and remain in 31st-place in the league, just two point ahead of the San Jose Sharks.

Mario: Sloppy Defense Derails Söderblom Momentum

It was just two wins, both against the Arizona Coyotes, but for goaltender Arvid Söderblom, getting wins has not been easy for him in his NHL career. There was momentum building for the Swedish net-minder getting two of the three wins the Blackhawks have enjoyed in their past four games and you could see a bit of confidence building in his game last week.

But then the first period tonight unraveled a lot of that goodwill.

Söderblom made 12 saves on 16 shots faced and was pulled just about 15 minutes into the opening period. Not all four goals were strictly Söderblom’s fault. The first two goals allowed came off a generous end-boards bounce for Los Angeles and a tipped goal. The third goal was pretty rough for Söderblom as he was caught way out of his net and struggling to reposition himself to avoid a wide-open cage. The fourth was an incredible back-door tap-in goal set up by a slick cross-ice backhand pass from former-bust Quinton Byfield.

Luke Richardson will rarely go to the well of pulling his goalie to send a message to his team to kick it into gear, but this was a flat performance from the jump for Chicago tonight, so he had to try something. “After the fourth goal, that change was more about sparking the team than taking Arvid out.” Richardson said after the 5-0 loss.

“I can’t think of one goal that was his fault,” Jason Dickinson said postgame. “Those are plays on the back post that we can’t give up because our goalie has to honor the shot. We have to be responsible on the backside for them.”

Söderblom’s record falls to 4-19-1 this season with a .877 save-percentage and a 4.02 GAA in 26 appearances.

Greg: Kings PK Cools Off Blackhawks Red Hot Power Play

The Blackhawks have been red hot on the man advantage of late. They have 10 power-play goals in their last four games. They had six in their two games against the Arizona Coyotes and another four against the Anaheim Ducks the last time out. Scoring 10 power-play goals is impressive, but a lot of teams have been scoring against the Coyotes and Ducks as they are 27th and 29th, respectively, in penalty kill.

The boys in red stepped up in class on Friday. Not only in overall talent, but the Kings came into the game as the NHL’s best penalty-killing team with an 86.5% success rate.

The Blackhawks got their first chance late in the first period, shortly after falling behind 4-0. They didn’t score, but the confidence was there. The passes were crisp, and they had three shots on goal on five attempts. Toward the end of the power play, Jason Dickinson laid a big hit on Blake Lizotte, and it seemed to wake the team up. Unfortunately, that didn’t carry over into the middle frame.

Their lone power play of the second period was not as good. The top unit could not get into any kind of rhythm, and the second unit provided the only two shots on goal during the two minutes.

They got two more chances on the man advantage during the third period. Over those four minutes, the Blackhawks had six combined shots on goal on eight attempts but did not find the back of the net.

Even with tonight’s disappointing result, the power play and penalty kill have improved greatly over the past few weeks. This is a good thing because special teams play can be a big equalizer for a squad that has to deal with a large talent gap on most nights.

Jay: Landon Slaggert Makes Blackhawks Debut

You know I wasn’t going to miss my chance to write about a Notre Dame captain making his debut for the Blackhawks. Worlds colliding! 

Landon Slaggert, whose fine Notre Dame hockey career (47 goals, 45 assists in 136 games) ended last Saturday, made his NHL debut Friday night vs the LA Kings. 

Slaggert, who spoke after the Blackhawks’ morning skate, said he would have close to 40 family, friends and Notre Dame staff on hand to witness his debut, and they were vocal from the start. Before warmups even began Slaggert’s face was shown on the Jumbotron and cheers erupted from around the arena. 

On his first shift of the game, he delivered a hit and forced a turnover, and that trend continued throughout the game. Slaggert played with speed, tenacity and a willingness to go to the front of the net. 

When asked what he saw from Slaggert in the game, Luke Richardson said, “Definitely energy and [he] gets in on forechecks. Not afraid to bump people. He only got out there once on the penalty kill, but seemed fine and comfortable with it. Obviously, more to come. Looking forward to seeing him.”

There were moments where you could see Slaggert hesitating, but not in a bad way. It’s as if he was intentionally making the safe play instead of taking an unnecessary risk. As he gets more and more comfortable, he will trust his instincts more and more and play with a more attacking mindset.

Also, Go Irish. 

Get Chicago's Best Sports Content In Your Inbox!

Become a smarter Chicago sports fan with the latest game recaps, analysis and exclusive content from CHGO’s writers and podcasters!

Just drop your email below!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?