Teuvo Teravainen didn't know quite what to make of the cheers from the crowd as he stepped on the ice for his first NHL shift.
"I was thinking, 'It's for me or what?'" Teravainen said after helping the Blackhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Stars on Tuesday night at the United Center. "That was fun."
The flashy Finnish center made his highly anticipated debut and the 21,493 in attendance had plenty of oohs and aahs as they scrutinized every stride the 19-year-old took.
"I just tried to play a smart and simple game," Teravainen said. "There were some good defensive plays but I think I need to be better in the offense too. Maybe next game I can have offense more. It's easy to play with these guys here. Everybody is such a good player."
The numbers supported Teravainen as the center didn't get a shot on goal during 11 minutes, 39 seconds of play but appeared adept with the puck and was responsible defensively. The rookie also finished a sparkling 7-for-7 in the faceoff circle as the Hawks were 49-for-71 overall to activate their puck possession game.
"I liked (Teravainen)," coach Joel Quenneville said. "His awareness around the rink, both sides of the puck (and) in the faceoff circle were very strong. I thought he did a nice job. Good start."
While the future — and some of the present — was on display, the Hawks still had some business to do as they continued their battle for positioning in the Central Division.
Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith each had a goal and an assist, Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa scored and Patrick Sharp added two assists to keep the Hawks six points back of the first-place Blues in the division and three ahead of the Avalanche for second.
Corey Crawford put together a strong effort in goal for the Hawks to record the victory and conclude a four-game homestand on a positive note. Crawford made 25 saves, allowing two Ryan Garbutt scores as the Stars suffered a big blow to their postseason with their fifth loss in seven games. Kari Lehtonen stopped 38 Hawks shots but took the loss while playing on consecutive nights.
The Hawks raced to a 2-0 lead on a Shaw power-play goal and Versteeg's score off the stick of the Stars' Antoine Roussel.
"They're a hungry team," Keith said. "They're fighting for their playoff lives. We came out with a pretty good start and were able to get one on the power play that was nice to get us jump-started."
After Garbutt cut the deficit in half, Keith made it 3-1 when his blast from just inside the blue line found its way unimpeded through a maze of players and past Lehtonen.
Garbutt made it close late in the third but Hossa put it away with an empty-net score.
"We did some good things throughout the game," Quenneville said. "All four lines were contributing and our special teams were good as well. Good win."
Twitter @ChrisKucCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun