Game Preview: Teuvo Teravainen Makes Season Debut as Chicago Blackhawks Face Dallas Stars


Mar 25, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) reaches for the puck against Dallas Stars center Shawn Horcoff (10) during the third period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Teuvo, Teuvo and more Teuvo.  It’s what we do, yes, but if it he turns out to be half of what he’s hyped to be, it’ll all be worth it.  He, Teuvo Teravainen, makes his season debut, tonight, for the Chicago Blackhawks as they return home for tonight’s Central Division matchup with the red-hot Dallas Stars.

This will be the 3rd of 5 matchups between the Hawks and Stars, this season.  So far, the Hawks have taken the first two meetings, by a combined score of 9-4.  Tonight’s game will be watchable on WGN-Chicago as well as NBC-SN.  The game will also be aired on WGN 720 AM.

Here’s a statistical breakdown of the Hawks and Stars.

[table id=109 /]

Offensively, both teams are elite, but only the Hawks have a favorable matchup tonight, as they face the Stars’ near-bottom of the league defensive game.

Defensively, the Hawks are tops in the league, but they will be tested tonight against Dallas’ elite and red-hot offensive attack.

On the Power Play, the Hawks’ inconsistency has lead them to a slightly below average man-advantage, but they have a favorable matchup in the Stars’ not-so-great Penalty Kill.  The Hawks sport the leagues best Penalty Killing unit and will be facing the Stars’ overall lackluster Power Play.

In the faceoff circle, the Hawks are a very good team and will be taking draws against a Dallas squad that is solid at taking draws.  In terms of puck-possession, the Hawks lead the league, as evidenced by their league-leading Corsi For Percentage.  They will be fighting for the puck with the average puck-possession team that Dallas is.

Overall, the Hawks have the advantage here.  The numbers show it, they are at home, and are well-rested, as the Stars are coming into town having played just last night.

The Stars are currently 18-14-5, which is good for 41 points and 5th place in the Central Division.  However, Dallas is one of the hottest teams in the league as they are riding a 4-game winning streak and have won 8 of their last 10.  They appear to be making a charge to be where everyone expected them to be before they got off to a slow start to the season.  Dallas is coming off of a 6-0 destruction of the Arizona Coyotes, on Wednesday, and last night’s 7-1 blowout of the Minnesota Wild, last night.  They couldn’t possibly have more momentum coming into tonight, but that rest thing might play a factor.  The Stars are lead by the scary-good Tyler Seguin, who has 26(!) goals and 46(!) points in 37 games played.  Recent call-up, Brett Ritchiehas only played in the aformentioned blowouts, this season, and has a goal in each game, as well as 3 points overall.  Jamie Benn has 3 points in his last 2 games, as well, and his production and overall play is crucial to the Stars’ success.

In net for the Stars will either be Kari Lehtonen or backup Anders Lindback.  Niether goaltender is having a season to remember, but the regular starter, Lehtonen is starting to find his groove.

The Hawks have fallen to 2nd place in the Central Division with a record of 25-11-2 and 52 points, which trails the Nashville Predators by one point.  With Teravainen making his debut in place of the injured Kris Versteegsome of the lines have been mixed up a bit.  Teravainen will be centering the 4th line with Ben Smith and Joakim Nordstrom at his wings.  It’s not a bad line, nor is it bad for Teuvo, although it’s not ideal.  We’ll see how long this lasts, knowing Coach Q.  With Versteeg out, his usual spot on the 2nd line has been taken over by Patrick Sharp, as Brad Richards and Patrick Kane remain on the same line.  Marcus Kruger has moved up to 3rd line centering duties, which will be interesting to watch how he performs in that role.  On Kruger’s 3rd line, Andrew Shaw has moved back to wing and Bryan Bickell will be the other wing.  The usual top line of Jonathan Toews centering Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa has remained the same.

In net for the Hawks will be Corey Crawford.  Crawford has been very good this season, when healthy, to a tune of a .921 Save Percentage in 23 games played.

Teuvo-mania has been a great, unintended way to get the Hawks and Hawks fans alike to move on from the heartbreaking loss in the Winter Classic(oops).  This is a different Stars team than the Hawks have seen this season, and it will be interesting to see how they play tonight, against the Hawks.  It’s just going to be an all-around interesting early January NHL game, which doesn’t happen terribly often.

Go Hawks!