ST. PAUL, Minn. – Teuvo Teravainen will be back in the lineup and West Dundee native Ryan Hartman will play his first game of the 2015-16 season when the Blackhawks face the Minnesota Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center.
Defenseman Erik Gustafsson will make his NHL debut tonight and Scott Darling will get the start. While coach Joel Quenneville said who was going into tonight’s lineup, he wouldn’t say who was coming out.
Teravainen was a healthy scratch on Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets. Quenneville said he wasn’t trying to send a message in scratching the forward in that game, although he said Teravainen’s game had been “ordinary” lately.
The Blackhawks recalled Hartman on Friday morning. Hartman played in five games with the Blackhawks last season; he has three goals and two assists in eight games with the Rockford IceHogs this season.
Gustafsson was recalled earlier this week to at least give the Blackhawks a seventh defenseman during this two-game road trip. Darling was expected to start tonight regardless of Wednesday’s outcome; he’s played in the second half of the Blackhawks’ previous two back-to-backs already this season.
The Blackhawks lost to the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Thursday, snapping a four-game winning streak. Despite the victories, they haven’t been scoring much and have been changing lines and lineups in an attempt to generate more offense. That’s meant opportunity for some of the Blackhawks’ prospects, with Hartman and Tanner Kero the latest to get a chance.
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“Everybody loves the chance to play,” Quenneville said. “Some guys are new to the system but they’re excited about the challenge and opportunity. There’s a reason why they’re here, because they have ability. Over the course of a season we expect these guys to get better as well. But certainly the opportunity’s never been better for some of these younger guys.”
Meanwhile, Quenneville said defenseman Michal Rozsival is “kind of close” to returning, although it still sounds like Rozsival would not be ready for Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Duncan Keith (right knee) still isn’t doing much in terms of workouts. Quenneville said they should have a better idea next week on when Keith can get back on the ice. Keith’s original recovery timeline of 4-6 weeks has not changed.