Petr Mrazek made 33 saves on 35 shots from the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, but blundered on the two goals he did allow.
This season is nothing short of a subpar for the Chicago Blackhawks and holds dim hopes, but Mrazek is a shimmer of light between the pipes for the Hawks, and Thursday’s performance is another chapter in that book.
Mrazek posted a season high .941 save percentage, and a season low 1.85 goals against per game.
The first of the two came from the stick of Phillip Danault in the middle frame, as the Hawks finished killing off a penalty. Danault found a shooting lane from the top of the faceoff circle to goalie’s right, past Mrazek who had slid too far out of the net in an attempt to cut off the angle.
The OT winner came from Kevin Fiala with :01.4 seconds on the clock with Mrazek out of position, playing the puck handler, who found Fiala, and despite Jake McCabe’s diving attempt to knock the puck away, he landed the game winner.
Mrazek’s 33 save performance is his first appearance following an eight game hiatus spanning from a groin injury suffered on October 21st in a tilt with the Detroit Red Wings, where he exited in the 3rd period.
In the waning moments of OT, Mrazek put on a clinic, and the Hawks forecheck failed them ultimately in the other end, as Jonathan Quick played miraculous as well.
Mrazek’s return is a bright spot for the season, as soon after losing Mrazek to injury, the Blackhawks also lost Alek Stalock, and were relying on their farm system goalies to carry them through.
Stalock was placed on the injured reserve with a concussion on November 4.
The Blackhawks power play shined yet again, adding to their already impressive numbers on the young season.
Two of the team’s top three point getters marked the scoresheet as Jonathan Towes and Max Domi both landed assists on Taylor Raddysh’s power play marker in the second period.
Mrazek’s play makes it easier for Hawks’ fans to watch hockey this season, but may make him a candidate for trade as the season progresses to net the Hawks a decent return.