10 observations: Power play shows signs of life but Blackhawks fall to Kraken

10 observations: Power play shows signs of life but Blackhawks fall to Kraken originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks‘ road skid reached 18 games following a 6-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday at Climate Pledge Arena.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Blackhawks quickly fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but after that, the ice tilted in their favor. I honestly don’t think they played poorly and felt they deserved a better fate. They just have trouble scoring goals and finishing their chances.

2. There was so much good from Seth Jones in this game. There was also one bad. Let’s start with the good: His quick release shot from the point that Joey Anderson redirected to cut Chicago’s deficit to 2-1 in the first period is exactly what the Blackhawks need more of from him. He also led all skaters with nine shot attempts and added another assist later in the contest for his second multi-point outing in three games. He was very active.

The bad: His irresponsible pass below his own goal line at the start of the second period went off Alex Vlasic‘s skate and in to make it 3-1 Seattle, and that was a backbreaker.

3. Arvid Söderblom had a rough outing in his last game against Seattle, giving up seven goals on 24 shots in a lopsided loss on Dec. 14 before being pulled. The second go-around wasn’t as bad; it was unlucky more than anything. It feels like there’s been at least one bad bounce or weird go against him in his last few starts.

It’s been exactly two months now since Söderblom last won a game (Nov. 24). What a frustrating feeling that must be for him. He really has to earn two points at this point.

4. After the Blackhawks made it 4-2 in the third period, Ryan Donato found himself on a breakaway from center ice but he was turned aside by Joey Daccord, who was excellent all night. Seconds later, Tomas Tatar converted on a breakaway of his own to extend Seattle’s lead to 5-2. That was the dagger, and Donato knew it. He was upset with himself on the bench and slammed his stick along the boards.

5. Jarred Tinordi drew into the lineup for Isaak Phillips after being a healthy scratch in Vancouver. On his second shift of the game, Tinordi’s attempted pass that should have led to a zone exit was intercepted by Tatar and Jared McCann scored later in the shift to put Seattle up 1-0.

7. Since Dec. 19, the Blackhawks are averaging only 24.2 shots per game, which ranks dead last in the NHL. They had 15 shots on goal in the first period against Seattle and finished with 36 total, which tied a season-high. They had a shooting mentality.

8. This was one of the best power-play showings for the Blackhawks all season. On their first opportunity of the game, they generated nine shot attempts, six shots on goal, and five high-danger chances, per Natural Stat Trick. They did everything but score. The Blackhawks eventually did score in the third period after Nick Foligno tapped home a beautiful pass from Philipp Kurashev.

9. Lukas Reichel was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said the plan is for him to play at some point before the road trip ends. I wrote about how the team is trying to rebuild his confidence here.

10. Petr Mrazek signed a two-year contract extension with the Blackhawks at a cap hit of $4.25 million. This felt inevitable after the team recently locked up Jason Dickinson and Nick Foligno to two-year deals. All three players have been super valuable this season, and it was wise of the organization to bring them back to help guide the young players through the rebuild.

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