Vancouver Canucks v Phoenix Coyotes

Ryan Kesler says he’s passing the puck more

Back in January, Canucks center Ryan Kesler got a bit snippy after his coach, Alain Vigneault, told reporters the Selke Trophy winner needed to “use the players around him a bit more.” (Which was a nice way of telling him to stop being such a puck hog.)

“I don’t know what [Vigneault] means by that,” Kesler said. “If he wants to say that, he can come to me and talk to me about it.”

Well, perhaps Vigneault did talk to him, because Kesler admits today that sharing the puck more has helped his game.

“Using my wingers has allowed my game to be more complete and improve my vision,” he told The Province. “The last couple of months it’s been there and it’s been solid.”

Of course, Kesler’s numbers – one assist in his last 13 games – appear to belie his newfound commitment to passing. And certainly there remain times he could distribute the puck instead of taking it himself or forcing a shot. But hey, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Oh, and if his regular winger, David Booth, could capitalize on the odd brilliant scoring chance, that would help, too.

Kesler remains one of the premier shutdown forwards in hockey, and to be fair he’s still feeling the effects of offseason hip surgery.

However, the Canucks will need more offensively out of their second-line center in the playoffs, particularly five on five. So far only 28 of his 48 totals points have have come at even strength, ranking him seventh on the team in that category.

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: