A strong performance by Arvid Soderblom on Thursday could’ve given the Blackhawks an exciting glimpse of their possible future goalie.
Instead, the Hawks only found more gloom and doom, opening their homestand with a 7-4 loss to the Blue Jackets. Soderblom, the 22-year-old Swedish rookie, struggled mightily in his second career NHL start, allowing six goals on 36 shots.
“He’s going to be a really good goalie for us,” interim coach Derek King said. “But still, it’s nerves. [It’s at] home; his parents are in town. And then what do we do? We don’t start the game on time for him and gave up way too many chances.
“We just had too many passengers at the start. Guys were not ready to play and easing their way into it. And you can’t do that when you have a young goalie in there. ... The poor kid was left hanging out to dry. That’s not very nice.”
The Hawks wasted a rare night of effective depth scoring. Ryan Carpenter, MacKenzie Entwistle and Philipp Kurashev, who entered Thursday with seven combined goals this season, all found the back of the net.
“It’s nice when you score — you relax a little bit,” Carpenter said. “[My line] made some plays and had some chances and contributed. But this time of year, we just need a win —it doesn’t matter who’s doing it. So it wasn’t good enough.”
Entwistle’s goal pulled the Hawks within 4-3 at the second intermission, and Alex DeBrincat scored his 29th of the year to make it 5-4 with 11 minutes to go, but the Hawks could never break out of catch-up mode.
Soderblom, meanwhile, could never find a handle on the puck. He was beaten several times by well-placed but unscreened shots, lost track of a fluky bounce nine seconds in the second period and surrendered multiple rebounds before the rally-killing goal with eight minutes left.
The Hawks also struggled with neutral-zone turnovers, leading to 67 shot attempts for the Jackets, but the Hawks’ rare 30-23 advantage in scoring chances indicated they easily could’ve come out on top.
“You’re coming into a six-game homestand, against a team you feel you should beat, and [this loss] stings a little bit right now,” said Patrick Kane, who tallied his 719th career assist to move into second in Hawks history in that category.
“You say you want to play the same way, but in the back of your mind, you know you’re down in the game. Maybe we pushed a little bit too much and give up too many chances when we’re actually down. That’s something we can learn from.”