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.
“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.
[NBC SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]
“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.”