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Zach Parise will undergo arthroscopic surgery to determine cause of knee problems

It’s been a surprising first month for winger Zach Parise and the New Jersey Devils.

Instead of assuming their typical perch atop the Atlantic Division, the Devils are making themselves comfortable in the league’s cellar. Rather than worrying about re-signing Parise to a contract extension after benefiting from his bargain $3.1 million annual salary cap hits for years, they now must wonder about their young star’s health.

In case you haven’t been following the proceedings, Parise re-aggravated a knee injury he apparently suffered while training during the summer in a game against the Los Angeles Kings. Richard Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Parise will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery to find out exactly what is wrong with the sniper’s knee.

Doctors say MRIs showed it is not related to cartilage or ligaments. Surgery will be performed as quickly as possible and there is no timetable on his return.

Obviously, this is wretched news for a Devils team that is simply reeling during a horrible 3-8-1 start. Parise began the season a bit slow (three goals and three assists for six points in 12 games after scoring 38 goals and 44 assists for 82 points in 81 games last season), but he’s clearly a vital cog in the Devils’ top-heavy machine.

Perhaps this bit of injury-related adversity might actually help New Jersey, though. The team needs a cause to rally around, so maybe doing without their best player will force the guy who’s supposed to be their best player – Ilya Kovalchuk – into taking the reins.

If not, this season could continue its current trajectory of being long and painful. Which, sadly, might be the same way you could describe Parise’s recovery from whatever ails his knees.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: