2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs nightly .GIF recap: Blues, Blackhawks win overtime thrillers

USA TODAY Sports

Featuring Jonathan Quick frustrated head-smashing!

For some time there, it looked like we'd have three overtime games on the first night of NHL playoff hockey. But that would be too easy, right? Best to have our overtime excitement served in moderation. At any rate, the night was full of excitement from first puck drop to final whistle.

The drama began in Chicago, where the Wild were set to take on the Blackhawks. Look around the interwebs and you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks Minnesota can manage to beat the Blackhawks in the first round.

And then this happened, and what little hope they had seemingly went out the window.

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Without Niklas Backstrom, the Wild had to turn to Josh Harding. If you remember, Harding was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis before the season and has been dealing with treatment all year. A team unlikely to make it far in the playoffs had to turn to an unlikely hero. As it turned out, Harding would be more than up for the task.

Until Patrick Kane decided to be Patrick Kane.

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LOOK AT THOSE HANDS. THAT SKILL. *faints*

Despite the Blackhawks' best efforts, Harding was in full beast mode. He faced 37 shots on Tuesday and stopped 35 of them. He got a lot of help from the guys in front of him, though. Especially Ryan Suter. Suter played 41 minutes while making huge plays like this one in overtime.

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Ultimately it didn't matter. Bryan Bickell ended it with a sweet OT goal, and the Hawks took a 1-0 series lead.

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Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Ryan Reaves was busy being mean to people.

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That was just a taste of the physicality between the two teams. It was as rough and tumble as everyone expected. It even had a little bloodshed.

Speaking of, Jonathan Quick put in a ton of blood, sweat and tears into his performance on Tuesday. He was simply outstanding, bringing back memories of his Cup run last year.

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That is, until he made this gaffe to end all gaffes. (And the game!)

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Ouch. And so it goes. The Blues now have a 1-0 series lead over the Kings.

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Aw, it's okay little buddy.

We finished the evening in Anaheim, where the Red Wings looked to get an early edge over the second-seeded Ducks. The game was exciting, no doubt, but the only notable gif came from Corey Perry nearly Malarchuk-ing Jimmy Howard.

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Shame. If you're wondering, the Ducks skated away with a 3-1 win over Detroit. Teemu Selanne had the game-winner, and it was wonderful.

Overall, a pretty thrilling first night of the playoffs. It'll only get better from here.

How does that make you feel, Marian Hossa?

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