Top line delivers in Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 win

Go ahead and put a lock on that revolving door on the Blackhawks' top line.

The left winger position appears to finally have been claimed by Teuvo Teravainen, the young Finn who couldn't take advantage of the golden opportunity coach Joel Quenneville handed him early in the season.

Teravainen had his best game Thursday, registering 2 goals and an assist, and linemates Jonathan Toews (goal, 2 assists) and Marian Hossa (3 assists) also lit up the scoreboard in the Blackhawks' 4-0 victory over Edmonton.

Corey Crawford also continued his stellar play, making 33 saves for his third shutout in the last four games.

"It was a good, full team effort tonight," Duncan Keith said.

It wasn't all good news for the Hawks as they lost Marcus Kruger to an upper-body injury in the second period. The fourth-line center, who is an integral part of the Hawks' penalty kill, did not return after crashing into the boards.

Asked if it looks to be serious, coach Joel Quenneville said "we'll see" and expects to know more today.

As for Teravainen, he managed just 4 goals and 5 assists in his first 22 games, but has 4 goals and 3 assists since being reunited with Toews and Hossa over a seven-game stretch.

Not too shabby.

"For a young guy, it might be easy to start thinking a little bit when things aren't going your way," Crawford said. "But he's got a ton of skill. He sees the ice well.

"You put a guy like that with two of maybe the top players in the league, stuff's gonna happen."

Teravainen, who admitted it's easier to stay on one line, clearly looks more at ease than he did in the season's opening weeks. Before Thursday's game, Toews said he's been imploring his young teammate to go to the tough areas.

"Don't feel like you have to defer to anyone else on the line," Toews said.

Said Quenneville: "Playing with those guys, sometimes you get a little bit intimidated feeling like you have to get them the puck. …

"(Teravainen's) pretty handy with it, and part of (making) that line successful is him with the puck, be it exiting our zone or entering their zone. … For him to be effective, he needs the puck more."

Off a perfect feed from Hossa on a 2-on-1 break, Toews ripped a one-timer top shelf past Cam Talbot to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the game.

The Hawks made it 2-0 at 12:29 of the second period when Teravainen scored off a feed from Toews. Teravainen and Artemi Panarin added late third-period goals for the final margin. Patrick Kane, whose 26-game point streak was snapped Tuesday, picked up an assist on Panarin's goal.

It looked like the Hawks might lose Niklas Hjalmarsson to injury in the first period when the defenseman was hit in the leg by a Justin Schultz wrist shot. Hjalmarsson stayed on the ice for a couple of minutes before being escorted to the locker room.

The veteran missed just one shift, though, and finished with 20:08 of ice time.

"He blocks those big shots all the time, so a lot of us knew that he'd be back," Keith said. "It's just the way he is. He comes back and he's so tough like that to be able to handle that pain."

The Hawks (18-11-4) went 3-1 on their mini four-game homestand. They have a noon start Saturday in Buffalo and return to the United Center (where they are 13-4-1) to play San Jose on Sunday.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.