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As if the Blackhawks weren’t dealing with enough goaltender injuries, Arvid Söderblom, who had been playing great hockey since taking over full-time for Alex Stalock and Petr Mrazek in their absences, didn’t return for the third period against the Jets. Meaning Dylan Wells, who is technically fifth on the Blackhawks depth chart, would be making his NHL debut with a 3-0 deficit to start the period. Not the greatest way to begin an NHL career.
The game was scoreless until halfway through the second period. That’s when everything changed. Josh Morrissey scored on the powerplay. Three-and-a-half minutes later, Adam Lowry scored a shorthanded breakaway goal after a tough pass escaped Caleb Jones at the point. Four minutes and change later, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored another powerplay goal. The Jets added a fourth goal (also a powerplay goal) in the third period, and the Hawks found themselves with a 4-0 loss, and five days to think about it.
What will the Blackhawks do in goal now?
It’s been a fast and furious start of the season for the Blackhawks, who seem to be playing every other day of the week. Fortunately, the team is off until Thursday. Mrazek has been working his way back from injury, and was expected to make the West Coast trip this week. Whether or not he’ll be ready for game action on Thursday remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say that if there’s any chance he can play, he’ll at least be available to backup. We also aren’t sure of the extent of Söderblom’s injury. “I actually don’t know his status,” Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said after the game. “The trainer came in after the second period and just said he wasn’t feeling good. It’s definitely concerning with our goalie injuries at this point, but hopefully he’s not too bad.”
Hopefully, it’s just a minor issue for Söderblom, but if neither he nor Mrazek can go on Thursday, look for Mitchell Weeks to sign his first NHL contract, just as Wells did last week.
This is not to completely write off another start for Wells, by the way. He played pretty well in his debut, stopping 12 of 13 Jets shots, including a Kyle Connor breakaway chance and a point-blank one-timer.
A much needed break
While the Blackhawks have certainly played better than anyone expected, their busy schedule has limited their opportunities for practice. If you’ve watch the last few games, you can see some signs of disorganization and systemic breakdowns. Their zone exits, which have never been great, have been flat out bad over the last few games, as well.
Multiple days to practice in a row will allow the team to tighten things up and hopefully get healthy.
Alec Regula makes his season debut
Rookie defenseman Filip Roos clearly needed a reset after his last two outings. You could see the game was getting away from him a bit. It’s also not great to have Regula, one of your better prospects, sitting in the press box for extended periods of time. Regula played pretty well in his season debut. His offensive skills are obvious. He’s a solid puck mover, and shows a lot of poise with the puck despite his limited NHL experience. He even got some powerplay time in the loss. We discussed his play on Saturday’s CHGO Blackhawks Postgame Show.
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