Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – The Blackhawks hung around long enough, and that patience paid off with a pair of late third-period goals less than two minutes apart to shock the Lightning on home ice in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Teuvo Teravainen scored to spark the comeback and assisted on Antoine Vermette’s game winner as Chicago topped Tampa Bay 2-1 on Wednesday night.
“I thought he got better like our team did as the game went on,” Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a couple of really nice plays by a guy who has some nice upside.”
Corey Crawford made 22 saves in a solid performance for the Blackhawks, who are attempting to win their third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons.
Chicago also won Game 1 when winning hockey’s most coveted trophy in 2010 and 2013.
Alex Killorn scored on a skillful redirection and Ben Bishop stopped 19 shots in defeat for the Lightning, who are making their first Finals appearance since defeating Calgary in 2004.
The series continues with Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Saturday night.
The two teams, meeting for the first time in the playoffs, were each coming off Game 7 triumphs. The Blackhawks downed the Ducks behind Jonathan Toews’ dominant showing and Bishop authored a brilliant 2-0 shutout against the Rangers.
The Lightning netminder seemed poised to post his third shutout in four games until Teravainen tied the game with 6:32 left in regulation.
The 20-year-old forward took a pass from Duncan Keith off the wall and blasted a shot inside the near post from the top of the left circle through a maze of players in front and past a screened Bishop.
The Blackhawks went ahead just 1:58 later. Teravainen knocked the puck loose from J.T. Brown at the right circle before Vermette stepped up between the circles and wristed a shot off the pipe and into the net for a 2-1 game with 4:34 to play.
“I think on that play that was great work,” Vermette said of the goal. “Teuvo kept working hard and created a turnover. We got the puck in the slot and got a shot out of it.”
Bishop left the ice in favor of an extra attacker with 1:22 left, but the Lightning were unable to force overtime.
Tampa Bay came out buzzing on home ice. On their first shift, Anton Stralman tried to stuff the puck in from down low following an offensive zone faceoff win and Killorn whiffed on the rebound in tight from the left side.
Chicago’s Patrick Kane provided a prime scoring chance moments later as he entered the offensive zone on the right side, drifted to the slot and sent a fluttering wrister on net, but Bishop cooly gloved the offering.
Feeding off the frenetic start, Killorn opened the scoring 4:31 into the game.
Valtteri Filppula tracked down Steven Stamkos’ dump-in in the right corner and dished the puck back to Stralman at the blue line. Killorn was stationed at the side of the net, where his no-look redirection of Stralman’s slapper out of mid-air with his back turned to the net bounced off the ice and past Crawford.
With just over five minutes left in the first period, Marian Hossa and Vermette moved up on a 2-on-1, but were disrupted as a sliding Braydon Coburn absorbed Hossa’s pass.
The Blackhawks were unable to capitalize on two power plays in the second period, mustering just one shot on net with the man advantage.
Crawford made two big saves to keep his team in the game during the waning minutes of the stanza. Stamkos took a pass from Killorn in the neutral zone and buzzed up the right side, but his slap shot was stopped by Crawford, who was aggressively posted above his crease.
The two Lightning forwards collaborated again on the next shift as Stamkos’ one-timer set up by Killorn’s feed from behind the net was denied by Crawford.
“We had a chances to put them away and we didn’t put them away,” Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. “To me that was letting them hang around.”
Crawford kept it a one-goal game by stopping Ryan Callahan’s shot on a breakaway with a little more than eight minutes remaining.
Chicago is the first road team to win when trailing after two periods since New Jersey in a 3-1 victory against Dallas in Game 4 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals … Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell missed the game with an undisclosed injury. Kris Versteeg replaced him in the lineup … Keith tallied an assist for a fifth straight game and became the first defenseman with 17 assists in the playoffs since Brian Leetch, who had 23 with the Rangers in 1994 … The Lightning entered the game 9-0 when scoring first this postseason and fell to 1-3 in Game 1s … Tampa Bay became the first team in NHL history to face an Original 6 team in all four rounds (Detroit, Montreal, New York Rangers, Chicago).