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Teuvo Teravainen nets memorable first playoff goal for Blackhawks

Teuvo Teravainen, center, said his Game 1 winner was "something you always dream about." Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks rookie Teuvo Teravainen swears he hasn’t shaved since the Stanley Cup playoffs began.

There’s little evidence of that, though. Teravainen possesses a faint mustache and no other facial hair despite all of his effort over the last 2½ weeks.

“I’m trying hard, but maybe next year,” the 20-year-old Finn said, laughing about his inability to grow a playoff beard. “Maybe I need some American pills to get it growing.”

As the postseason wears on, Teravainen’s baby face will only be accentuated among a team of hirsute men. Teravainen will surely be unable to avoid some ridicule from his teammates, but he can help his cause by continuing to play as he did Friday against the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their second-round series.

Teravainen broke a 3-3 tie in the final minute of the second period to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory. Teravainen, who is 20 years, 232 days old, became the youngest Blackhawk to score a game-winning playoff goal since Jeremy Roenick did so at 20 years, 89 days in 1990, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Of course, it’s always great to score in games like this, tied game and score the game-winner," Teravainen said. "It’s something you always dream about.”

Teravainen, considered the Blackhawks’ top prospect in recent years, has quickly developed a reputation of being a skilled offensive player, but there was nothing special about the way he scored his first career playoff goal. Teravainen got the puck on the left side of the rink near the glass and just inside the blue line in the Wild’s defensive zone. He flung it toward the net. Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk put his left-handed glove up to catch it, but it flew past him and into the net.

“I just got the puck and shoot it to the net, maybe surprised the goalie,” Teravainen said. “Sometimes you got to shoot and good things happen."

No one says or believes that more than Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp, who was proud of his linemate for following that advice.

“He’s a highly skilled player, and he’s got a great shot, but I think he’ll tell you that wasn’t exactly an overpowering shot,” Sharp said. “He just put it in the right area. [Antoine Vermette] did a good job of kind of disrupting things in front of the net, and it goes in for us. It’s never a bad idea to put it on net.”

Teravainen was motivated to make an impact Friday after being made a healthy scratch the previous four games. He contributed a primary assist in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime win over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the first-round series, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was disappointed in Teravainen's play in Game 2 and sat him the rest of the series. Quenneville decided after the first round to put Teravainen back in the lineup and scratch Kris Versteeg.

Quenneville was glad to see his move worked out Friday.

“It was obviously very timely and a big goal in a big setting,” Quenneville said. “Certainly he’s a confident guy the way he plays the game. I think with and without the puck he wants to be out there and he wants to be in good situations. You know, last minute of the period, [he] did the right thing. It wasn’t a fancy play, just put at the net -- something we harp on and we got a break.”

Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa wasn’t much older when he scored his first career playoff goal. He knew what it meant to Teravainen.

“It’s good for him and it’s huge for a young player like himself,” Hossa said. “Obviously a winning goal, and that’s a great memory. Definitely give him lots of confidence in the next games.”

Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson thought Teravainen had many more of those type of moments coming in his career.

“He's a guy with tons and tons of talent and his hands are ... I'm very jealous of his hands,” Hjalmarsson said. “He can do stuff with the puck that kind of amazes you. I just think the more he plays, the better he's going to be.”

The Blackhawks can look forward to that in the future. Teravainen, meanwhile, can look forward to someday being able to grow a beard.