You won't get universal agreement from the Blackhawks, but Raffi Torre's shoulder-to-head hit on Brent Seabrook may have caused the flash of emotional gunpowder that's ignited the defending Stanley Cup champs in this wacky playoff series with the Canucks.

Torres hammered Seabrook behind the net and the thunderous body check – combined with another by Torres a few minutes later – eventually sidelined the Tsawwassen native for the last two games. The Hawks are calling it "upper body," but most suspect a concussion.

The Canucks went on to win that game 3-2 to take a 3-0 stranglehold in the best of seven Western Conference quarterfinal series. But the Hawks have roared back to take the next two games by a combined score of 12-2,chase starting goaltender Roberto Luongo twice and seize control of the series.

A big part of the turnaround is the elevated play of Duncan Keith – Seabrook's longtime defence partner and his closest friend on the team.

Keith, who's had a so-so season nowhere near the level of Norris Trophy winning campaign of a year ago, readily acknowledges the hit by Torres – which was penalized with an interference minor but not a suspension – was a big-time motivator.

"Brent's a great teammate and a great friend of mine," said Keith on Friday, after the Hawks had returned home. "Nobody wanted to see that hit and see one of our guys go down like that. Obviously, we used that as motivation but the biggest thing was we were in a bad spot and facing elimination and hadn't played our best hockey."

Hawks captain Jonathan Toews agreed it was a wake-up call.