Blackhawks' Teuvo Teravainen trying to shake hesitant ways


Blackhawks' Teuvo Teravainen trying to shake hesitant ways

Teuvo Teravainen batted down Duncan Keith’s pass and, before the puck really had a chance to settle down, fired. It was his only shot of the game and yet it was a successful one, a bank-shot off Michael Hutchinson that ended up being the game-winning goal.

What was missing from that particular play? Hesitancy. Teravainen had none. He didn’t have much hesitancy last spring, either, when he was part of a productive postseason line with Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette. He’s got that chance again, as he’s been promoted to the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa again. And if he played like he did in the spring, that top line could really get going.

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Teravainen admits he’s been trying to find his game so far this season. He’s hopped around the lineup a bit; but no matter his line mates, he hasn’t recaptured his postseason level – yet. With another top-line opportunity, however, he’s hoping to get back to form.

“Sometimes I don’t make the right plays but I always want to get better,” said Teravainen, who realizes he has to shoot more, even with his star line mates. “You want to get the puck to them and sometimes I have to be more selfish.”

Coach Joel Quenneville agreed.

“I think he’s got a great shot, a quick release and one-times anything loose in that slot area,” he said. “You get goalies, [when] they get set in today’s game, you’re not going to beat too many. But the element of the quickness, the element of surprise, one-timing shots and he’s going to be around the net with those guys, there’s going to be a lot of good opportunities, quality as he goes along here.”

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Teravainen started the season on the top line, the final preseason game with he, Toews and Hossa looked promising. He scored in the regular-season opener. But then the hesitancy crept into his game. He was passing frequently, not holding onto the puck enough and not shooting enough. Teravainen’s tried to take those lessons into his latest top-line chance.

“Just work hard and get those feet moving and try to play smart and when you get the puck, be patient and make some plays,” he said. “Be strong with the puck and that’s what I try to do.”

Teravainen is a top-six forward but he has to show the confidence of a top-six forward. He showed that last spring, even if it was on the third line. If he shows that consistently on the top line, he could stay there for a while.

“Wanting the puck, having the puck, I think, has got to be a strength of his,” Quenneville said. “And being comfortable thinking that, ‘Hey, I can shoot it, too,’ and not always have to feed.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?