Blackhawks

Teuvo Teravainen's versatility helps Blackhawks

teuvoteravainenversatile.png

Teuvo Teravainen's versatility helps Blackhawks

GLENDALE Ariz. – The Blackhawks have missed a player or two at various times this season.

Perhaps that player leaves a void on the penalty kill or the power play, or maybe it’s just his main position where the Blackhawks need to fill the need. Regardless, when another player has been absent, one particular Blackhawks forward has gotten great opportunities: Teuvo Teravainen.

Teravainen was getting the extra-responsibility call again on Tuesday night, filling the top-line center role for an absent Jonathan Toews in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. It’s a testament to Teravainen’s versatility and the Blackhawks’ trust in him, no matter the situation.

“Yeah, it’s good I can play a lot of different positions,” Teravainen said. “I’ve been playing with every guy, left wing, right wing. I have to be ready every game; you never know.”

[MORE HAWKS: Healthy Jonathan Toews ready to get back to it with Blackhawks]

That was the case heading into the Blackhawks' first game after the All-Star break. With Toews suspended for missing the All-Star weekend, Teravainen stepped onto the top line. Earlier this season, when Duncan Keith was injured, Teravainen expanded his penalty-killing role — he did that again when Artem Anisimov was ill last month.

Getting the added responsibilities is a boost to Teravainen’s confidence.

“It makes me feel more comfortable,” he said. “I try, whatever role it is, to play as best I can. Sometimes it’s more of a defensive role, sometimes offense. But I have to be responsible every time. It’s a good chance for me.”

Teravainen played a more limited role last year, but that was last year. He needed time to grow and develop his game over here. Obviously coach Joel Quenneville trusts him with it — Quenneville isn’t the type to put guys into situations he doesn’t think they can handle.

“I think we’re always comfortable because defensively he’s reliable. That predictability we like and the upside, offensively, is still in place,” Quenneville said. “There’s room for growth in that area but defensively I like how he positions himself in the right places.”

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

Teravainen would like to have more offense. On Thursday, with Toews poised to return against the Arizona Coyotes, Teravainen will be back in his familiar right-wing spot on the third line (with Andrew Desjardins and Phillip Danault). Those three were generating some offense at the start of the year, and would like to get going again. No matter where Teravainen is, however, he’s bringing the right elements and trusting his instincts to do so.

“I think I don’t think too much, and if I do that’s not a good thing,” he said. “You have to play to your instincts and I think that’s my game. When I’m playing my best I’m really into the game and making good decisions on the ice.”

Updates

- Michal Rozsival (lower body) will likely play against the Coyotes. What that means for Viktor Svedberg, who played a good game in Rozsival’s place, is uncertain. Quennville said of Svedberg, “I thought he had an excellent game last night but we’ll see about tomorrow’s lineup.”

- Corey Crawford will start.

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.

Four takeaways: Alex DeBrincat salvages divisional game for Blackhawks in overtime on Duncan Keith’s special night

Four takeaways: Alex DeBrincat salvages divisional game for Blackhawks in overtime on Duncan Keith’s special night

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Saturday night:

1. Special night for Duncan Keith — and Brent Seabrook

The Blackhawks celebrated Keith's 1,000-game milestone in the perfect way. Every player wore a No. 2 jersey during warmups, his family was on the ice for the pregame ceremony, and Patrick Sharp made an appearance to present Keith with a silver stick. Seabrook was also paired with Keith among the starters, a great touch by Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff.

But it was also a historic day for Keith's partner and close friend Seabrook, who became the franchise leader in games played by a defenseman, surpassing Bob Murray who previously held that mark at 1,008. It's only fitting Keith and Seabrook shared that moment together.

"We've been riding shotgun together for our whole careers," Keith said. "I couldn't imagine my career, my 1,000 games without him and all the experiences and memories that I've had winning and even losing, and the fun times we've had off the ice. I owe a lot of my success, and I think the team does as well, to Brent and what he means to the team and what he brings to our friendship and as a teammate."

To put a bow on the game, Keith had a vintage Keith moment on the game-tying goal in the third period when he intercepted a pass in the neutral zone on his backhand, then fed Toews a dart leading him into the offensive zone that set up DeBrincat's goal. 

2. Alex DeBrincat's torrid start

The Blackhawks continued to get contributions from their top players such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, both of whom extended their point streaks to five games to open the season. But DeBrincat has propelled himself into that conversation as a top player on this team.

He had a multi-goal effort for the second straight game, upping his goal total on the season to a team-leading six. His overtime winner is the first of his NHL career in that fashion.

DeBrincat didn't score his sixth goal until Nov. 12 last season, which was the 18th game. And he still finished with 28. While it's hard to envision him continuing to score at more than a goal-per-game pace, it's not hard to see him continuing to be one of the best players on the ice and generating offense and scoring chances on a nightly basis.

"I think I'm getting pretty lucky right now," DeBrincat said. "I'm playing with [Toews] and [Dominik] Kahun, they're making great plays and getting me the puck. It's pretty easy when you have those guys as your linemates. Even on that last goal, [Erik Gustafsson] made a great pass backdoor to me. Pretty easy tap in."

3. Squandering another two-goal lead

The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead for the third straight game. And they squandered it for the third straight game, in large part because they committed five straight penalties in the second and third periods.

It's no longer a blip at this point and is becoming an alarming trend, even though the Blackhawks have come back to force overtime in each of those three games. That will be something the Blackhawks work on all season long.

But Quenneville would have liked to have seen the Blackhawks keep their foot on the gas pedal and cash in on their opportunities to make it a 3-0 game.

"Score the third goal," he said. "I loved the way we were playing. We had a lot of good things going. Eventually they’re going to get chances, get opportunities. But we had some great chances to get it to three. It was one of those nights, every game is kind of different how the leads changed."

4. Brotherly love

For the first time in the NHL, the Schmaltz brothers finally got their chance to go up against each other at the highest level. There had been a handful of other opportunities in the past, but it never lined up for a variety of reasons. 

They didn't see much of each other while on the ice — they were on together for only 1:30 of the game — but Nick did commit a penalty that led to Jordan assisting on the Blues' first goal on a delayed call. 

The best battles between Jordan, who turned 25 on Oct. 8, and Nick, 22, came when they were kids.

"We had a little roller rink downstairs in our house growing up," Nick said. "It would be me vs. my sister (Kylie) and my brother. Those were probably the best battles. Someone would usually come up crying or high-stick or puck to the face or something like that. A lot of good memories. Looking back at it, it was awesome to have that and work on each other’s game and push each other to get better."