The Chicago Blackhawks weren’t the favourites to win Game Five of the Western Conference Final, on the road against the Anaheim Ducks. Though the stats were in their favour (the Blackhawks were formerly undefeated in a series after winning Game Four in the Toews/Kane era), the Ducks are a dangerous team at the Honda Center, and tough to beat.
Though the Blackhawks ended up losing that game, no one expected it to go down the way it did.
The Blackhawks seemingly forgot they had to play the first period, surrendering two quick goals, and ending the first frame down 3-0. The Ducks scored as many goals as the Blackhawks had shots in that period.
During the first intermission, everyone expected a big initial push from the floundering ‘Hawks. That’s exactly what happened, but it wasn’t sparked by Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, or Jonathan Toews.
No, it was Teuvo Teravainen that gave the Blackhawks life, when his wrist-shot snuck through the pads of Frederik Andersen, getting the Blackhawks on the board with plenty of time remaining in the middle frame.
With time winding down in that said second period, it was Teravainen again making it happen, this time delivering a pass to Brent Seabrook, who brought the Blackhawks within one goal of tying the game, with an entire period left to play.
It wasn’t the source that Blackhawks’ fans expected, but nevertheless, they were right back in the game. Teravainen continued to be a factor for the final frame: in fact, only Patrick Kane recorded more even-strength time-on-ice than the Blackhawks’ super-rookie (15:55).
Not bad for someone who spent Game Three in the press box.
Maybe Blackhawks’ fans should be used to this kind of thing, by now. After Antoine Vermette scored the double-overtime winner in Game Four, one game after spending his night in the press box along with Teravainen, the sudden outburst from the 20-year old shouldn’t surprise Blackhawks’ fans.
But still, it did. And unlike most of the surprises the Blackhawks have had in these playoffs, this is one they’re happy about.
If Teravainen was looking for a night to duplicate his performance, he doesn’t have to look very far ahead. Wednesday’s Game Six is a must-win for the ‘Hawks, and the more goals they can put past an already mentally-shaken Andersen, the better off they are in Game Seven, providing they win.
The Blackhawks have done historically well when facing elimination: 9-4 under Joel Quenneville. Patrick Kane is unstoppable in Game Six, with two playoff hat-tricks. Just ask Roberto Luongo.
Teuvo Teravainen shouldn’t care about the Blackhawks’ history. He wasn’t there to see it happen. However, on a Blackhawks team that is regularly touted for their experience, Teuvo’s youth and his fire are something the Blackhawks will now be counting on just as much as his teammate’s experience, when the puck drops on Game Six on Wednesday night.
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