2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs nightly GIF recap: Rule-breakers abound as Conference Finals open

Bruce Bennett

In the NHL, you cannot travel, you cannot skate through the net and you cannot smash someone's face into the glass. Who knew?

We learned a lot of things about the NHL on Saturday. In case you missed it, the two conference finals began in earnest with a lot of truculence and rule-breaking. They've made it this far, so you'd expect these teams to understand hockey. Alas.

In Chicago, the Blackhawks came out flying and outshooting the Kings 17-2 in the first period. All the Kings could do was hit...

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... and travel, I guess? Kyle Clifford of the Kings tried to, um, drive the hoop or something:

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The refs reminded him traveling is not cool, and running backs are for football. He took a two-minute minor penalty for closing his hand on the puck.

Meanwhile, Hawks rookie Brandon Saad discovered that you can't cut corners around the net:

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The only goal in the first period came on one of the Kings' two "shots," though this was hardly a shot by Justin Williams:

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But the Blackhawks kept pressing their game, and in the second period they were rewarded for sending traffic to Quick's net. First Patrick Sharp put this rebound in as Drew Doughty's mind wandered:

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Then Marian Hossa pulled off this fantastic deflection of Duncan Keith's shot from the point:

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Despite the narrow margin, the Kings never came close to finding an equalizer. Instead, as time wound down, Mike Richards was on the receiving end of this explosion by Dave Bolland:

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The tone in Pittsburgh was set early. How early? 45 seconds.

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Actually, the only tone-setting part of that GIF is Brad Marchand. That hit was the only good thing Kris Letang did all game.

The rest of Pittsburgh's defensemen didn't fare much better. Nor did Tomas Vokoun's five-hole.

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That wasn't the only time David Krejci would make an impact. Boy, we're just full of foreshadowing here.

Overall, Vokoun was okay for the most part. His best series of saves managed to frustrate Jaromir Jagr. No small feat.

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Pittsburgh struggled to find an identity all night. The Bruins refused to play a run-and-gun game with them, so the Penguins started playing more physical than usual. Which is a bad thing when you have Matt Cooke on your team.

Hey, did you guys know checking from behind is illegal? Me too.

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Matt Cooke is a slow learner, apparently.

Not to be outdone, the Bruins' resident pest took out James Neal.

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And then things exploded.

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And that was about all she wrote for Pittsburgh. Their Norris Trophy nominee interfered with their own goalie, leading to a David Krejci goal in the third.

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And Nathan Horton made it 3-0 soon after.

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This is the last time we'll have multiple games on the same night for a long time. Considering how awesome Saturday night was, I totally understand if your hockey heart breaks hearing that.

More in the NHL:

Complete Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage

Celebrating hockey’s ‘anti-heroes’

Our playoff predictions

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