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Hawks Hits: Söderblom bounces back, but Blackhawks fall in Nashville

Jay Zawaski Avatar
January 3, 2024

How would the Chicago Blackhawks respond after their 8-1 New Year’s Eve loss to the Dallas Stars? With a depleted roster and their backup goalie in net, they had every excuse to get blitzed, and that’s how the first period went. 

The Hawks were outshot 16-5 in the frame. Nashville also held a 34-9 shot attempt advantage after the frame, which amazingly ended with the Preds only up 1-0 off of Gustav Nyquist’s ninth goal of the season. 

The Hawks picked up their game in the scoreless second period, which finished 9-8 in shots for Nashville. The Hawks did have a 19-16 shot attempt advantage at 5-on-5 that frame. 

Nashville pulled away in the third period, scoring a 5-on-3 power play goal and adding an empty netter to seal the deal. All-in-all, the game could have been much worse without a solid performance from Söderblom. It also could have been much better had the Hawks power play generated more than one shot on their three power plays. 

Jay: Arvid Söderblom Returns with a Solid Performance

As if Tuesday night’s lineup wasn’t thin enough for Blackhawks fans, their confidence couldn’t have been high when they saw Arvid Söderblom in the starter’s crease. 

Entering Tuesday’s action, Söderblom’s numbers were poor. He was 2-11 with a 4.22 GAA and .868 save percentage, and those numbers reflect what we’ve seen from the eye test. 

“We believe in him,” Luke Richardson said before the game. “Just be big and confident and gobble up pucks around the crease, because this is a big, heavy team down low around the net. It’s another opportunity.”

The first period was ugly for the Hawks, as they were outshot 16-5, while the shot attempts were 33-8 for Nashville at 5-on-5. Söderblom allowed one power play goal, which looked like a save he should have made, but only surrendered that goal in an otherwise solid period. 

Söderblom was perfect in the second, stopping all 10 Nashville shots in the frame, including a late-period Nashville power play. 

Söderblom continued to play well in the third, and despite allowing a 5-on-3 power play goal to Ryan O’Reilly, he responded on the next shift with an insane kick save.

It’s safe to call this a bounce-back performance for Söderblom. Will it be a one-time thing, or can he begin to stack solid performances? We’ll see. 

Greg: Anthony Beauvillier…the Latest Injured Blackhawk

At this point of the season, the players on the Blackhawks injured list could probably beat the active players in a pickup game. Taylor Hall, Andreas Athanasiou, Seth Jones, Joey Anderson have all been out for weeks. It looked like things were turning around when Colin Blackwell, Jarred Tinordi and Alex Vlasic all returned from injury. Then Taylor Raddysh and Tyler Johnson got hurt in back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars.

You can now add Antony Beauvillier to the list of the walking wounded. He left the game after getting his left arm smashed into the boards by Filip Forsberg. He did not return for the third period.

General manager Kyle Davidson is in a real bind because the Rockford IceHogs’ roster is already depleted. I know many will want to see Colton Dach up here, but he is now in concussion protocol. Who’s left? David Gust? Mike Hardman? Sign Anders Bjork to an NHL deal? Call Phil Kessel’s agent?

This roster is already comically bad with all the injuries, and it is going to get worse. Hopefully, in a couple of years, we can look back at this stretch and just laugh because things are so much better.

Mario: Powerless Powerplay

There’s only so much I can be upset about tonight regarding the powerplay efforts from the Blackhawks, considering that they are so depleted of talent from injuries. But even still, professional hockey players of NHL and AHL talent should be able to produce more than one singular shot on goal in three powerplay chances.

Chicago ranks 27th this season on the powerplay and had another “0-for” night against Nashville tonight, failing to convert on three chances. Zone entries were difficult, winning puck battles after chipping and chasing was difficult, and even connecting on unchallenged D-to-D passes was difficult. There’s a talent gap, for sure, but even on a simple execution level, the Blackhawks didn’t have it tonight.

With more injuries to deal with after tonight, I have to wonder what the newest version of the lines and pairings on the man-advantage will look like as the team heads East to take on the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, teams whose penalty-killing units rank sixth and 22nd in the NHL this season. A good powerplay can be a great equalizer to lesser-talented teams, but you have to be able to have and maintain puck possession first.

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