Teravainen expected to return to Blackhawks lineup vs. Wild


Teravainen expected to return to Blackhawks lineup vs. Wild

Teuvo Teravainen came out of the Johnny’s IceHouse West locker room sporting a black sweater on Monday.

In postseason practice sessions, forwards wearing that color sweater signifies they’re on the third or fourth line. And that meant that, after a few games out of the lineup, Teravainen was back in it.

Teravainen, who was a healthy scratch in Games 3-6 in the first round, looks to be in when the Blackhawks begin their second-round series against the Minnesota Wild on Friday. Coach Joel Quenneville said the latest lineup change was more about getting Teravainen’s two-way game back into action than it was Kris Versteeg, who as of now will start the second round as a healthy scratch. Teravainen gets this latest chance with Antoine Vermette and Patrick Sharp.

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“The three of them looked good out there today,” Quenneville said. “They all [have] a little bit something different on the line, they’ve all got different dimensions to their game. He’s got two experienced guys out there but I like his presence, as well. I think he’s going to add some speed and I think that predictability on both sides of the puck is something that he can bring to that line. We’ll see how it plays itself out. Potentially, it could really be a good line for us.”

Vermette has been impressed with Teravainen’s play.

“He’s very creative: good hands, good player, skill player, obviously. I thought we played well together when we played together at points during the season and I think he was going to bring an offensive dimension for sure,” said Vermette, who added that Teravainen could handle playing on this stage. “It’s such a learning process but he’s a very gifted player, great set of skills. I think his game is suitable to the type of game we’re playing and he had special assets working for him.”

Teravainen’s potential in the postseason was evident in his debut in Game 1 vs. Nashville, when he assisted on Niklas Hjalmarsson’s goal. He struggled in Game 2, however — the Blackhawks in general did — and was back out of the lineup. Still, Teravainen’s gotten the chance to watch and learn and now is ready to put it all to good use.

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“I think I learned a lot,” he said. “The first game was good. The second one I think I didn’t play that good and we lost the game, too. I’ve just been practicing hard and working hard to get back. I think I’ve got a lot of experience.”

Teravainen is getting another chance. The Blackhawks have liked what they’ve gotten from him thus far. Now Teravainen will try and be a steady postseason presence.

“I’ll try my best,” Teravainen said. “I know I can play, I know I can help the team. So I just have to find my game and play smart, simple hockey. I don’t know. I’ll just go straight forward, shoot the puck and it should be good.”

3 Takeaways: Dominik Kubalik nets first NHL hat trick

3 Takeaways: Dominik Kubalik nets first NHL hat trick

Dominik Kubalik had a hat trick to help the Blackhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Here are four takeaways: 

Rookie with the hatty

Blackhawks rookie Kubalik, 24, earned his first NHL hat trick in Thursday's game in Tampa Bay, with his third goal being on the empty net for the final score. All three of his markers came in the third period.

Kubalik's 29 goals lead all NHL rookies. He has 18 goals in his last 22 games. 

Third-period resurgence 

Brandon Saad and Slater Koekkoek also found the back of the net in the third period to assist Kubalik in giving the Blackhawks a 5-2 lead off of five-unanswered third-period goals after trailing 2-0. 

Saad picked up his second goal in as many games and Koekkoek's tally was his first goal as a Hawk, which came against his former team. 

It was the Blackhawks' first regulation win at the Lightning's Amalie Arena in 11 years. 

Power staying on

The Blackhawks have power-play goals in four straight games, including three in St. Louis on Tuesday. Kubalik's second goal of the game was on the man advantage at 11:43 of the third, putting Chicago up 4-2. 

The Hawks were 1-for-6 on the power play in Tampa and the Lightning were 0-for-5.

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Robin Lehner on things not working out with Blackhawks after trade to Vegas Golden Knights

Robin Lehner on things not working out with Blackhawks after trade to Vegas Golden Knights

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner has only been with the Vegas Golden Knights for three days after being traded by the Blackhawks ahead of Monday's deadline. 

In a complicated transaction, Lehner was first traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger Martins Dzierkals, a 22-year-old unsigned draft pick. Lehner and Dzierkals were then traded to Vegas, getting the Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban, defenseman prospect Slava Demin and Vegas' second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist has drawn attention for talking about how things were handled with the Hawks twice already in the three-day span. 

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After a Knights' practice on Thursday, Lehner was asked if his pending unrestricted free agent status was weighing on him. 

“To be honest, that’s not weighing on my mind," Lehner told Vegas media. "There was other things weighing on my mind. I mean, I haven’t played to my potential the last few weeks and there’s a few things that kind of played into that. 

"I went to Chicago to help them out and got promises of getting a fair chance to play. I came there with a good mindset to fit into the team. I mean, I didn’t play much in the beginning or the middle-beginning of the season, even if I played really well and had a good camp. 

"Eventually I took over and I think I won like nine out of 10, 12 out of 15, and we walked up one point behind a playoff spot. Then all of a sudden, I found myself on the bench for no reason. That was tough. Plus, negotiations had totally died out.” 

Lehner signed a one-year, $5 million free agent contract with the Blackhawks. He and Corey Crawford equally split the net, with Lehner getting the edge in quality performances the first half of the season. 

Crawford had a .939 save percentage from Jan. 15 to the trade deadline. Lehner's was .899 during that span.

“At the end of the day, we’re players playing for our lives and playing for contracts,” Lehner said. “I felt for two years I’ve played really well and I still can’t get something done, and I’m playing well and I can’t play. It hits your motivation part a little bit and I’ve got to do a better job of letting that kind of go away.

“I thought there was a future there and I did everything to get a future there, and I still couldn’t get a future there. In the end, the last couple weeks were tough, mentally, to kind of find a motivation needed.”

Lehner was 16-10-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 33 appearances with the Blackhawks.

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