LOS ANGELES – It hasn’t been quite the start that the goaltender would have hoped for as he starts the newest chapter of his NHL career.
In just his third game of the 2022-2023 season with the Blackhawks, Petr Mrazek had to leave after suffering a groin strain. It would land him on the IR, and he wouldn’t return to the lineup until Thursday night.
But when he did, the veteran goaltender did everything he could to secure a point with the Blackhawks and almost got them a second.
With heavy offensive pressure on him from the Kings Thursday at the Staples Center, Mrazek made 33 saves and allowed only one goal in regulation on a quiet night for his team’s offense. He nearly forced a shootout, but Kevin Fiala’s one-timer with 1.4 seconds left in overtime sent the Blackhawks to a 2-1 defeat.
It’s easily the best of Mrazek’s four outings with the Blackhawks as he came to Chicago for his 11th NHL season in the draft night trade with the Maple Leafs. After allowing five goals against the Avalanche in the opener, he gave up two against the Sharks in a win on October 14th and allowed three against the Red Wings before being injured.
Mrazek has been a part of an interesting Blackhawks’ goaltending situation so far where injuries to himself and Alex Stalock (concussion protocol) have forced Luke Richardson to rotate a few goaltenders in the net.
Arvid Soderblom has seen action in four games while Dylan Wells was called up from Rockford and saw action in one contest.
Now Mrazek hopes to stay healthy and keep the Blackhawks’ No. 1 goaltender spot and perhaps repeat efforts like the one he had on Thursday.