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Hockey Hugs, Stanley Cup Playoffs edition: Zdeno Chara, unholy monster; Sad Subban

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the sport of hockey, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? Have you seen a particularly good hug photo lately? Send it to puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or Tweet it to @HarrisonMooney.

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BOSTON, MA - APRIL 26: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal at the end of the second period …

The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs was downright fantastic. Due to a few poor finishes from great teams, and a few great finishes by good teams, we were left with matchups worthy of a Conference Final to kick things off. We had breakout performances, lead changes, historic collapses and comebacks. 

And also some pretty great hugs.

Nothing ratchets up hockey hug quality quite like higher stakes, and in the playoffs, where every goal counts, seemingly every hug is a classic.

MInd you, that's true with Zdeno Chara regardless of the time of year. The man is a children's nightmare come to life. As a result, every single one of his hugs looks less like two guys celebrating a goal and more like a monster seizing a hockey player to take back to his lair and devour. You can't see Reilly Smith's face up there, but I imagine he's pleading at the Red Wings player in the background for some sort of intervention.

Sadly, no man is brave enough to face The Chara, and Reilly Smith was eaten. 

Anyway. Hugward we go. 

No. 6, Colorado Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog share a moment. 

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DENVER, CO - APRIL 26: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his game winning overtime goal …

"Nathan! I know it's uncool for 18-year-olds to wear helmets, but you really ought to have one on."

"You're not the boss of me, gramps."

No. 5, Columbus Blue Jackets

Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky deal with a sudden crisis.

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COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 23: Ryan Johansen #19 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates with Brandon Dubinsky #17 of …

"Sidney Crosby is being booed! Everything is backwards!"

"Gravity has been reversed! We're floating away!"

"Hold me down!"

"Hold ME down!"

No. 4, San Jose Sharks

The Sharks have a choking problem. It happens a lot. Fortunately, James Sheppard and Tomas Hertl have prepared for just such an emergency. 

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LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 24: James Sheppard #15 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates his goal with Tomas Hertl #48 …

"Double heimlich!"

No. 3, Tampa Bay Lightning

That looks like an incredible hug behind P.K. Subban. Because he is human, he wants in.

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MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 22: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens reacts as Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay …

"One day, P.K., one day someone will hug you like that. You hang in there, P.K. Okay, P.K."

No. 2, Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara hugs Jarome Iginla, while thinking about what he's going to do after the game: sprout his unholy, black wings, then fly to a village in Slovakia and eat all the kids.

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Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal with teammate Jarome Iginla #12 in the third period against …

"SOON."

No. 1, New York Rangers

Dominic Moore greets Brian Boyle as he comes over the boards the same way he always does.

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Dominic Moore #28 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal at 16:20 of the second period …

"Brian!!!!!"

"Wah!"

Kudos to the great Bruce Bennett, who took this photo, by the way. Watch the gif: Bennett snapped this at the exact, perfect moment.

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Dominic Moore and Brian Boyle hug it out.

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