Chicago Blackhawks Stay Focused on Home-Ice Advantage With Win

By Paul Chancey
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Chicago Blackhawks have been waiting for this night all year: the debut of one Teuvo Teräväinen. While he did not score, he was especially impressive, and it seems that the hype surrounding the Finnish youngster is real. Of course, his team was exceptional too, beating the Dallas Stars 4-2 to stay in the hunt for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Of course, the Finnish youngster was the big story.

After getting shutout by the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks’ offense was certainly hoping to beat up on someone. That didn’t quite happen, but it was certainly better. Andrew Shaw got the scoring started in the dying seconds of the first period on a power play, scoring on an amazing diving backhander — diving forward, away from the net — to beat Kari Lehtonen. Shaw’s been playing well, scoring points in eight of his last 10 games. Kris Versteeg recorded the second goal (originally credited to Marian Hossa), but the Stars answered.

Ryan Garbutt fired a wrist shot that beat Corey Crawford (more on Crawford later) to cut the lead in half. But Duncan Keith scored his sixth goal of the season to put the Blackhawks ahead. Another goal by Garbutt kept it close, but Hossa scored on an empty-netter to finish the game. Aside from Garbutt, the Hawks’ defense was excellent. Crawford had to make an excellent save just minutes into the game and he was excellent throughout. He’s certainly getting into a groove late into the season and should be the goaltender they need down the stretch. And Duncan Keith? If there’s any doubt he should win the Norris Trophy, it’s irrelevant.

Of course, the big news was Teräväinen. He didn’t have much ice time, about 11:39, but he showed how good he was. His on-ice intelligence is exceptional, his playmaking abilities were on display and his puck-moving is excellent. Again, he didn’t score, but he was on ice for Andrew Shaw’s goal, taking Patrick Kane‘s spot on the power play. The youngster certainly has a bright future. But the present had to be dealt with, and the Hawks took care of it. They kept it simple, which has been a big boost to them down the road.

Unfortunately, the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche both won, so the Hawks could not gain ground. But they’re still in the hunt for home-ice advantage, which will be vital. Still, fans can’t help but be excited for what looks to be another big name to wear the Indian Head sweater.

Paul Chancey is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for Follow him on Twitter at @ChanceyPaul and add him to your network at Google+.

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