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.
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.”