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Big stage doesn't rattle Blackhawks rookie Teravainen

by Brian Hedger

TAMPA -- Rookie right wing Teuvo Teravainen administered a knockout punch for the Chicago Blackhawks with a goal and assist in the third period of a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at Amalie Arena.

He did it in the coolest possible way too.

"He doesn't seem to have a heartbeat," teammate Marian Hossa said of the 20-year-old. "He's so calm. He's Finnish cold."

Teravainen, usually shy and reserved, delivered a great punchline while speaking with reporters about his performance.

"I think I've said before, I'm a lot more confident out there [on the ice] than in the media right here, so that's a good thing to be," Teravainen said. "When I scored the goal, I think the first thing [I thought] was, 'Oh no, I have to go do media now.'"

A reporter asked if the media is really that terrifying.

"Yeah, you are," he said.

Inside the rink, it's the Blackhawks' opponents who might be getting nervous when he's on the ice. After coming to North America from Finland at the end of last season, Chicago's first pick in the 2012 NHL Draft (No. 18) was accompanied by a lot of hype.

It's taken him some time to live up to it, but Teravainen's skill level is beginning to show up a lot more often at right wing on the third line with center Antoine Vermette and left wing Patrick Sharp. They were on the ice in the first period when Tampa Bay forward Alex Killorn gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 4:31, but made up for it by generating Chicago's goals in the third.

Teravainen scored the first one at 13:28 to tie it 1-1 and then forced a turnover that led to Vermette's goal at 15:26 for what turned out to be the difference in the game. After picking J.T. Brown's pocket in the Lightning zone, Teravainen chipped the puck across the ice to Vermette for a shot that got past Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop over the glove-side shoulder.

"We have a lot of depth on our team, a lot of good players," Teravainen said. "Every line can go [on] offense, every line can play defense. I think that's just a great thing to have. For our line, I think we just played solid defense all around, and in [a] way, we got the prize. We got two goals. It's great."

Teravainen's line has become formidable for the Blackhawks over the course of the postseason. The three were first put together in the second round against the Minnesota Wild and have clicked ever since. Sharp and Teravainen can each set up or score goals; Vermette is a two-way center who wins his share of faceoffs.

Playing the right wing, the slightly-built Teravainen is starting to show why he earned the nickname, "The Finnish Kane," in reference to Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane.

"Teuvo is pretty good for 20," Sharp said. "We knew that before tonight's game. Those are some big plays he made."

On Teravainen's goal, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith carried the puck along the wall in the offensive zone and left his point open. Teravainen slid into that spot to man the left point, where he got the puck back from Keith for a long wrist shot through traffic. The puck sailed past a couple of Lightning players and Chicago center Marcus Kruger camped in front.

Bishop never saw the puck go into the net.

"I felt like I didn't really have a shot on net, so I tried to turn back," Keith said. "Teuvo did a nice job of covering for me and a great shot right on net and we had a guy in front. I think the key was having that guy cover for me and having the guy in front."

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