NHL Playoffs – Chicago Blackhawks Excel Late, Tampa Bay Lightning Can’t Close

Be it experience talking or simply a stroke of fate, but the Chicago Blackhawks, trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning the entire game, manage to come up with two late goals by Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette to win game 1 2-1 and take a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup.

The Lightning did what they do be when playing at home throughout this postseason; start strong. Some incredible stick-skills by Alex Killorn made a shot by Anton Stralman change direction in midair, beating Corey Crawford. It was Killorn’s 8th goal of the playoffs, but coming 4:31 into the first period, it was also pretty much the last time it felt like the Lightning were dominating.

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Image: Source

From that moment onward, it was just the Blackhawks adding more and more pressure in a testy game, being unable to beat Ben Bishop for nearly three periods, but at some point a combination of the Lightning finding it difficult to generate chances and maybe their inferiority in the goalie position led to the Blackhawks turning the game around.

First it was Teravainen, a midseason call up, that struck it from long range and hard, but Bishop was unable to see or react to the puck racing through the air towards his goal, finally giving the Blackhawks a reward for their efforts. Marian Hossa was very impressed with the young Finnish winger: He’s growing more confident every game. He doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat. He’s so calm. He’s Finnish cold.

Teravainen set up the second goal as well, pushing it from the wall towards Vermette, who was left unchecked right in front of Bishop and sent a wobbly shot to the top left corner of the goal, completing the turn around with less than five minutes left in the period. Chicago needed one minute and 58 seconds to grab a lead they wouldn’t let go of.

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Image: Source

Teravainen, a 20 year old who has only 37 regular season games in his career, was clearly overwhelmed by the attention after providing a goal and assist that won the Blackhawks the game.

When I scored the goal, the first thing I thought was Oh no, I have to go out in the media after the game. It’s pretty amazing. I know we have a great team. We have a lot of experience, but myself, I’m a young guy here, so I try to bring some energy. Tampa Bay is a really great team. It’s a fast game out there. You have to be ready.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper tried to focus on the positives from this game, although he knows his team was clearly outplayed for most of the game, and the one-goal difference doesn’t really tell the whole story of the encounter. It wasn’t that close.

We really didn’t give them much the entire game. Could we have made a few more poised plays? I guess we could have. But we had chances to put them away, and that was letting them hang around. For most of the game, we saw we can hang, and we can be better. You’ve got to go through these situations to learn from them. It comes down to the small details, and it comes down to a bounce.