Alex Stalock's effort not enough for Blackhawks' 1st win

LAS VEGAS – To put into perspective how impressive his performance was in the net on Wednesday, it’s important to think of the number of games that Alex Stalock has played at the NHL level since the end of the 2019-2020 season.

The goaltender took the ice for one contest over the course of the next two seasons, and that came on March 8 of this year as a member of the Sharks against the Predators. He allowed six goals in an 8-0 loss in what would be his only appearance that season with San Jose.

But Stalock looked like a seasoned veteran in net in his first game with the Blackhawks in their second game of the 2022-2023 season, and nearly helped the team get win No. 1.

Over the course of 60 minutes against the Golden Knights on Thursday evening, Stalock stopped 36 shots from the hosts at T-Mobile Arena in a strong effort to begin his season. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks’ offense couldn’t give him even just a little bit of help to get him a victory.

Paul Cotter’s second period shot that got past Stalock is all Vegas would need in a 1-0 victory that sends the Blackhawks to their second-straight defeat to open the season. Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson would stop all 27 of the visitor’s shots for a shutout of his own.

Yet the effort is encouraging for Luke Richardson since Stalock will see his first major action in net since that 2019-2020 season with the Wild when he played in 38 regular season games and four Edmonton “Bubble” postseason contests.

The goaltender will be in a rotation with Petr Mrazek, who started Wednesday night’s opener in which the Blackhawks lost to the Avalanche 4-2.

In their third and final game of their opening road trip, Stalock will make a visit to his old stomping grounds as the Blackhawks face the Sharks in San Jose at 9 PM Saturday.