TAMPA, Fla. — The Blackhawks have had plenty of third-period magic in their postseason history. They conjured up a little more on Wednesday night.
After trailing for more than 2 1/2 periods the Blackhawks scored twice in just under two minutes to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. It was a thrilling finish to a game that had an energetic start from the Lightning then quieted down considerably before those two Blackhawks goals.
So before we embark on two days of quote gathering before Game 2, let’s look at Five Things to take away from the Blackhawks’ Game 1 victory over Tampa Bay.
1. Teuvo Teravainen comes through again. OK, young Finnish forward, we get it: you tell us you’re comfortable, regardless of the stage, and then you go out and prove it. The forward who Marian Hossa described as, “Finnish cold,” Teravainen was cool as could be at a tense time. His third goal of the postseason tied the game and his pick off J.T. Brown set up Antoine Vermette’s game-winner. Added Hossa, “he’s talented, talented guy [with] lots of skills. He sees the ice really well. And he’s showing it in these big Finals games.”
2. Corey Crawford stays stoic. There have been times in the past when Crawford, after going a long stretch without seeing a shot, can be unprepared when he does see one again. Well, that didn’t happen on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay went several minutes without a shot in the third period, but Crawford was ready on Ryan Callahan’s breakaway. Not long after that, Teravainen scored the tying goal. Crawford finished with 22 stops on 23 shots.
3. Kris Versteeg all right? Versteeg, in for an injured Bryan Bickell, didn’t look too healthy in the second period when he went face-first into the goal post. The Blackhawks didn’t pull Versteeg aside immediately to check how he was; instead, he went straight to the penalty box for goaltender interference. Asked afterward if the Blackhawks followed protocol for these situations, coach Joel Quenneville said, “absolutely.” Versteeg said the post run-in “was a little ugly, but I had to collect my thoughts there and go on with the game.”
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4. Antoine Vermette improving this postseason, too. Vermette had a rough late regular season with the Blackhawks but he’s helped give them secondary scoring at critical times this postseason. Vermette, whose goal won Game 4 against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Final, got the winner tonight, too.
5. Lesson learned for the Lightning. Tampa Bay didn’t push things in the third period. Perhaps it was just them getting into a defensive mode. Perhaps it was the Blackhawks dictating the pace more. It may have even been a combination. But Victor Hedman said the Lightning have to learn from that. “We're not happy sitting back the way we did late in the third, but you have to give them credit for the way they played, the way they pushed the pace,” he said. “We definitely have things to learn there from the third but for most of the night I thought we played a really good game. Our effort was there. We played hard, competed hard.”