The Blackhawks were getting close to getting run out of the building, to being embarrassed Wednesday night. They were already down 2-0 and they were just getting manhandled by a Canucks' team that decided Wednesday was the night it was going to throw its weight around, be as physical as possible to stun the Hawks.
Chicago addressed the need to pushback in between the first and second periods and did a fine job of it, creating chances with a strong forecheck that led to a puck possession game in the second.
It wasn't enough, and from now until Friday the Blackhawks are going to be thinking about how much better they have to be in the first period to beat the Canucks because the first 20 minutes essentially cost them Game 1.
"It's definitely something we need to respond to," captain Jonathan Toews
said of the physical play. "We can't just lie around and take that. I think throughout the game we weren't moving our feet enough and we make ourselves easy targets for those checks. When we're putting pucks behind them and getting after it we can make them more afraid to go near the puck, especially in their zone. We didn't do that enough tonight. We didn't play hard enough in the corners or in front of the net. And, we didn't get the result we wanted."
The Blackhawks were outhit, 20-9, in the first period. They were outhit, 47-21, for the game.
The 47 hits were 26 more than the Canucks' regular season average.
"Physicality was probably the big difference tonight," Patrick Kane
said. "Not that it really affected us, but at the same time we've got to be more physical on them, make sure it's not as easy on their top players. You can't go out of your way to make a stupid penalty to hit someone, but if the hit is there, a lot of our guys in here have to make that hit."
Kane and the rest of the Blackhawks wouldn't say they were surprised at how the Canucks came out and bashed them early even though that is not Vancouver's style, but they certainly looked stunned. Chicago didn't answer until the game was 20 minutes over and Vancouver had enough goals to ride a hot goalie to the finish line.
"They came at us in waves," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville
said. "We needed more urgency right off the bat. The pace is not the regular season pace. We have to respond with a better start. They came out banging and we didn't reciprocate."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl