The first star in Tuesday’s 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings was Teuvo Teravainen. Despite the fact that numerous Canes players had strong games in the lopsided win, Teravainen was easily the best playing Tuesday’s win. First, he read a pass and intercepted it. The result was Aho’s breakaway goal. Then in the second period, Teravainen put the puck in Staal’s wheelhouse three times. The result for the third of those three plays was Ferland’s goal deflecting Staal’s shot. Teravainen added another assist and also a goal of his own. Teravainen was the offensive catalyst for the team’s best line on the night.
As much as any other current trend or development, Teravainen’s success playing with Staal and Ferland caught my attention.
With the goaltending and defense playing so well right, the potential exists for the Hurricanes to achieve success by grinding out tight-checking 2-1 type games. But the Holy Grail for this team if it can simultaneously keep the defensive strength but at same time dial up scoring.
In that regard, Teravainen is in my opinion the single most important player. The reason is because the team and its scoring balance could greatly benefit from Teravainen becoming the catalyst/driver for a scoring line.
Watching Teravainen distribute the puck from the right side of the ice brought back fond Canes memories. On the Stanley Cup Championship team roster were Ray Whitney and Cory Stillman.
Stillman played wing but was the primary play maker/puck distributor for a scoring line that featured two power forward forwards. Stillman’s role was to put the puck on the sticks of Eric Staal and Erik Cole in scoring position. The result was a massive amount of scoring from the trio.
Ray Whitney too served as an offensive catalyst and puck distributor from the wing position. With a similar formula with two power forwards, Whitney regularly fed Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu.
Teuvo Teravainen’s skill set
So the question right now is whether Teravainen possesses similar skills and can be the catalyst for creating a long-elusive second scoring line. The sample size is tiny, but the Tuesday was eye-opening in terms of showing what Teravainen is capable of.
Teravainen is a heady, two-way forward. He can finish too, but he clearly leans toward pass-first. That could mesh well with Ferland and Staal who are both old school power forwards. Staal is among the league’s best in terms of transporting the puck up the ice, but he is not really a play maker or puck distributor. Ferland is a good scoring power forward but he too is more of a finisher than a playmaker.
Can Teravainen play like he did on Tuesday on a regular basis and possibly push to that level? And equally importantly, is it possible that he can do 1+1=3 for Ferland and Staal and help each (especially Staal) reach a higher level offensively.
What say you Canes fans?
What do you think about the possibility of Teravainen filling a Stillman or Whitney role and being the catalyst for a second scoring line?