CHICAGO - As the puck started to move past the red line, the crowd suddenly came to their feet with a roar of approval.
That's not a normal reaction to a basic rush up the ice, even if it is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But what got them to rise was something you don't see in the dog days of January.
With mask off and adrenaline pumping, Corey Crawford was pushing and shoving Robby Fabbri on the boards for about 20 seconds. About 30 seconds earlier the forward hit the goalie in the head with his skate, which caused Crawford to abandon the crease in order to give Fabbri a piece of his mind along with his hockey stick.
Not a bad move.
The Blackhawks were tied at one and losing momentum in a key Game 4 which they needed to win to keep pace with the Blues in the best-of-seven first round series. Some healthy aggression produced a reaction from the crowd that was a bit on edge as the second period wore on.
It worked. The Blackhawks took the lead a few minutes later and it appeared their script which they've perfected the past six years was all coming together.
Fast forward an hour and it's if that moment never happened.
With the horn already sounded and the score reading "Blues 4 Blackhawks 3", Andrew Shaw sat in the middle of a post-game melee. Alexander Steen had given him a bit of a trip of the stick on the final faceoff that drew the ire of the centerman who proceeded to go after him.
With his helmet off Shaw continued to let off frustration until he was finally pulled off the ice and off towards the bench. He trotted behind the glass and into the dressing room as the fans, now deflated, headed towards the exits for what could be the final time in the 2015-2016 season.
Yet what might bug the fans more than the fact the season could end Thursday night in St. Louis in Game 5 is the way that the Blues got that 3-1 lead. Not just the fact that they lost a 2-1 lead in allowing three straight goals but the way that Shaw finished off what should have been a memorable game.
He's had a goal and two assists on the night and his last point got the Blackhawks within one in the third period. As the two minute mark apporoached, Shaw's night completely changed. With a crosscheck at the end of a rush Shaw drew a two-minute penalty that put the Blackhawks down a man as they looked to get the equalizing goal.
Now a comeback would have to come in a 5-on-5 situation, something that's not been a strong suit for the group in these playoffs. A dumb penalty, sure, but it only got worse.
Cameras later caught an infuriated Shaw give the middle finger with both hands to the referee. Once in the penalty box he grabbed a cradle of water bottles then smashed them to the ground. Moments later, the television cameras appeared to show Shaw shouting a slur towards the referee.
What was said couldn't be heard on the broadcast and after the game Shaw would say little.
"Emotions were high. I don't know what I said," is how Shaw responded when asked if he said a slur.
When pressed again on the issue, he repeated the same answer.
A question for the league now is what to do about Shaw who was already a hot topic on Twitter where video of his penalty box rant was posted even before the end of the game. At least one group, the You Can Play Project, has called on the NHL to take action on Shaw immediately.
Whatever the league does in the next 24 hours is to be determined. In the meantime the Blackhawks and their fans have to get this forgettable finish behind them. Forget the final result, those things happen.
It's the ugly finish, the loss of composure and the bad storylines in the final two minutes which leaves just a sour feeling as if the Blackhawks see their season come to an end on Thursday, Saturday or even next Monday night.
Playoff defeats happen, but not like this for the home team on Wednesday. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of the fans who cheered the bit of aggression that made it seem as if their season was far from over just an hour before.