Blackhawks

Simplified game helping Teravainen see even more success

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Simplified game helping Teravainen see even more success

It wasn't a particularly hard shot, or one that featured any fancy stick-handling or maneuvering through the offensive zone; but it was just the one Chicago needed.

After the Blackhawks surrendered the 3-0 lead they captured in the first 20 minutes of Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, Teuvo Teravainen sent a wrister Devan Dubnyk's way from near the blue line that went on to hit the post and find its way into the back of the net.

That shot marked Teravainen's first playoff goal since arriving in the NHL and proved to be the game-winner in the Blackhawks' 4-3 victory.

When asked if he was surprised that one went in, Teravainen answered "a little bit. I think that wasn't the biggest shot, but sometimes good things happen when I shoot.

[MORE: Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1]

"It's a great feeling, of course. I just think I had to shoot more. I got the puck there and I just tried to shoot. Sometimes good things happen."

Teravainen's repeated those last two sentences over and over throughout the season: The more pucks on net, the better chance there is to score.

It's a simple philosophy, but one that's driven Teravainen's progress as his confidence has continued to grow throughout the season.

Any times of him being nervous to shoot or waiting for the "perfect play" are long gone, and his teammates are becoming more and more impressed with what they're seeing from him. 

"You can see that he's a special player with the way he handles the puck and the vision he has," Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "He does stuff sometimes in practice that kind of amazes you and you know what potential he has and what he's capable of. It's fun to see him get a goal today."

[RELATED: Five Things from Game 1: Blackhawks must play 60 minutes]

Patrick Sharp, who recorded the primary assist on that goal, said giving the puck to Teravainen in that situation was a no-brainer.

"I just wanted to get the puck in Teuvo's hands," Sharp said. "He's either gonna make a good shot or find an open player, so we're happy for him to score his first playoff goal and couldn't be better being the game-winner.

"You don't want to take any creativity out of his game, but this time of year you see the east-west plays, some of the stuff you can get away with in the regular season just isn't there. Especially against a team that's so well-coached like Minnesota. So simplifying a little bit, firing pucks on net — I don't think it was an overpowering shot, but he put it on net, off the post and in. So we'll take it."

On Friday night, Teravainen became the youngest Blackhawks player to record a postseason game-winning goal since Jeremy Roenick back in 1990. He's experienced plenty of success this season as his game has continued to develop and his teammates are excited to see what the future has in store for him.

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Teravainen has the skating skills and still-handling abilities to score the highlight-reel goals, but his ability to simplify his game is now helping him reach a whole new level of success with the Blackhawks.

As he says, sometimes that can lead to good things happening.

"He's a confident kid without the goal anyway," Sharp said. "You want to get the puck in his hands as much as you can. I know he's real happy about contributing offensively. He got us going in Nashville too. The way he played tonight, we're happy for him and hopefully he can continue going forward."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis and Nick Gismondi discuss the coaches getting involved in practice (0:40), the latest roster moves (2:45), Dennis Gilbert standing up for Alex DeBrincat (7:15), Robin Lehner's shootout struggles (13:45), the Blackhawks' inconsistency woes (17:45), performance vs. results (23:50) and the importance of the next eight games (27:35).

Listen to the full episode here or in the embedded player below: