TAMPA, Fla. — Marian Hossa was almost poetic in describing Teuvo Teravainen.
“He’s growing more confident every game. He doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat,” Hossa said. “He’s so calm. He’s Finnish cold.”
We’ll surmise that Hossa’s saying Teravainen is as chill as the weather in his homeland during winter. It would certainly be fitting, considering Teravainen’s latest work.
Teravainen scored the game-tying goal and assisted on the game-winning one as the Blackhawks came back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night. Teravainen has been saying all postseason that he’s comfortable in his surroundings now that he knows what to do when he’s out on the ice, regardless of the stage.
He’s not kidding.
“We knew that before tonight’s game,” Patrick Sharp said of Teravainen’s talent. “Those are some big plays he made.”
Big-play No. 1 came when Teravainen shot through Lightning and Blackhawks traffic to tie the game with 6:32 remaining in regulation. Big-play No. 2 came less than two minutes later when Teravainen pushed the puck away from Lightning forward J.T. Brown and toward linemate Antoine Vermette, who scored the winning goal.
Hossa said that Teravainen starting the season in the minors, where he played a bigger role and bigger minutes that he wouldn’t have gotten with the Blackhawks at the time, helped Teravainen’s growth.
“He’s one of the most talented guys I see, watching him every day,” Hossa said. “But coming to this team, there are so many skilled players, they decided that instead of playing only a few minutes they put him on a minor team so he could play lots of minutes. Obviously, it’s paying off. He’s playing with such confidence.”
Teravainen talked about the Final stage after Wednesday morning’s skate. He was more excited than nervous.”
“Not too much,” Teravainen said afterward about having any anxiety. “It was just a pretty normal game I think. Of course it was a Final game but I think I was pretty calm out there.”
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Regardless of what he was feeling on the inside, Teravainen was calm on the outside. This is what general manager Stan Bowman and the rest of the Blackhawks envisioned when they got Teravainen. They wanted people to be patient with Teravainen’s progress. Now Teravainen is showing that Finnish-cold calm patience himself on a big stage.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Teravainen said. “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.”