Steven Stamkos

Stamkos: “You never know when you’re going to get a chance to score 60 ever again”

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While there are plenty of games this evening with major playoff implications, the Jets-Lightning contest — involving two teams eliminated from postseason play — holds special significance.

In it, Tampa Bay forward Steve Stamkos will look to become just the 20th player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a single season and needless to say, he’s eagerly anticipating the opportunity.

“You never know when you’re going to get a chance to score 60 ever again,” Stamkos told the National Post. “This could be the closest you ever get, so you want to hit it when you’re that close. But 50 is kind of the benchmark. It always has been and I think always will be in the NHL. That’s the thing you’re kind of gunning for.

“You never think you’re going to score 60, and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d get to 58.”

At the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa, the idea of Stamkos scoring 60 started making the rounds — but at that time he was sitting at 32 goals with 33 games left.

Of course, all he’s done since then is score 27 times, thanks in part to an increase in ice time (he had more than 25 minutes of ice time during a 3-2 loss in Toronto on Thursday night.) Tonight, he’ll have the added benefit of playing at the MTS Center, where he’s scored twice already this season.

Stamkos admitted that while he’s not focused on scoring No. 60, it’s hard not to acknowledge the chase.

“I get asked about it every day, so it’s tough not to [think about it],” said Stamkos. “It’s something that you never know if you’re going to get that close again in your career, so you might as well try to at least go for it. It’s not something I’m pressing.

“I was thinking more about getting to 50 when I was around 47, 48 goals, to be honest. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”

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: