Monday night saw the 'Hawks stand up to the rival Canucks at a sold out United Center, saying "enough's enough," and earned a much-needed win to even this Western Conference Semifinal series 1-1 heading back to Vancouver.
They made sure Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo didn't have an easy night by keeping a steady flow of bodies and pucks coming his way. Only Luongo's razor sharp goaltending kept them from scoring more than they did.
Game 2: Canucks vs. Blackhawks (Getty Images)
"It's good to have that confidence to know we can pressure a team and get on their nerves a little bit to give ourselves a chance to win games like that," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We pushed them to the edge, tried to make them make mistakes and it worked out for us."
More specifically, the Hawks did their best to annoy the Canucks and put the pressure back on them.
John Madden challenged Christian Ehrhoff to a post-whistle scrap in the first, only to have the Canucks defenseman mutter something and skate away. Dustin Byfuglien got the better of Vancouver center Rick Rypien by slyly tripping him as he went to the net -- then leveling him when Rypien flew around the net and headed straight for the Hawks' 6-foot-4, 257-pound agitator.
Byfuglien and Rypien got together again for a shoving match near center ice, and then there was the Hawks' duo of physical, irritating forwards Adam Burish and Ben Eager. Burish, playing for the first time in the series, covered Luongo with a spray of snow after a hard charge to the net. Eager, meanwhile, was on a mission to hit anything that moved.
At one point, Burish and Eager sat next to each other on the bench and gave Canucks forward Alex Burrows an earful during a stoppage of play. One can only imagine what was said considering it was Burrows who pulled Duncan Keith's hair during a brawl last season that ignited the feud between these teams.
"I don't know ... that's part of the game," Keith said. "Maybe the intensity was a little bit more (in Game 2), but that happens in every game. As the series goes along it will just keep getting more intense."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville juggled his lines before the game to activate both Burish and Eager. He scratched defenseman Jordan Hendry and forward Bryan Bickell, and moved Byfuglien back to the blue line after he played forward in Game 1.
He got exactly what he wanted out of the moves: a disruptive, pestilent group of gritty tough guys intent on making Vancouver retaliate. For the second game in a row the Canucks didn't take the bait, but they had their moments.
"We got some good energy out of (Eager and Burish)," Quenneville said. "That line was effective in a lot of ways."
The annoying, salty, in-your-face kind of ways -- just the way the Hawks planned it.