3 Stars of Stanley Cup Final Game 1

One of the things that stood out to me about hockey when I was younger was the “Three Stars of the Game” after each game. It was, different, like everything in hockey was to me when learning the game. It was reminiscent of the “Hero & Goat” caricatures by the late, great Bill Gallo that I read in the NY Daily News after playoff games involving professional teams in New York.

These Hero/Goat cartoons left an impact on NYers, just as all of Mr. Gallo's cartoons did. (Bill Gallo/New York Daily News)
These Hero/Goat cartoons left an impact on NYers, just as all of Mr. Gallo’s cartoons did. (Bill Gallo/New York Daily News)

Needless to say it was a bit surreal being able to one day actually vote for the three stars of the game sometimes while covering New Jersey Devils games. The Stanley Cup Final is now underway between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks and for the duration of the series in this space we will take a look at who we thought were the three stars of each game.

3) Duncan Keith (Chicago) What else can be said about the performance that Keith has had in these playoffs? Once again he played almost half the game (29:15), he assisted on the game-tying goal — which by the way now gives him five consecutive games with a point in these playoffs (0g-8a), and was a key cog in shutting down the NHL’s highest scoring team. He’s been like a machine since the playoffs began and has to be considered a serious candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Corey Crawford denies Steven Stamkos from point blank range:


2) Corey Crawford (Chicago) The Lightning came out with guns blazing to start Game 1 and thanks to the oft-underrated Crawford, the Hawks were able to weather the Lightning storm and finish the opening period only down by one goal. The 2013 Stanley Cup champion stopped nine of Tampa’s ten first period shots on goal and saved 22 of the 23 he faced for the game. His save on the breakaway by Ryan Callahan was humongous big because Chicago was able to tie the game on the ensuing trip down the ice.

1) Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago) It wasn’t Patrick Kane that was the hero this time. It also wasn’t Jonathan Toews, or Patrick Sharp, or Marian Hossa, or Brandon Saad, or Brent Seabrook. It was the 20-year-old rookie from Helsinki, Finland playing in his first Stanley Cup Final game, in only his 13th career playoff game. He started slow, just like the entire Blackhawks team, but when it was crunch time in the third period he scored the tying goal with 6:32 to go; and then had the lone assist on the game-winner 1:58 later.

Somehow, someway this shot found it’s way through a maze and into the net:

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes in championship games and it will be fun to see who steps up in Game 2 on Saturday night.

Dan Rice can be reached via Twitter: @DRdiabloTHW or via Email: drdiablo321@yahoo.com