Ilya Kovalchuk

Kovalchuk (shoulder) practices; DeBoer: ‘I’d take him at less than 100 percent’

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Desperate times may call for desperate measures in New Jersey.

The Devils are winless since losing sniper Ilya Kovalchuk to a shoulder injury seven games ago, and have scored just 12 goals.

On Tuesday, the Russian winger returned to practice — and head coach Peter DeBoer suggested there might not be many more practices before he puts Kovalchuk back into the lineup.

“We’re not going to put his safety in jeopardy,” DeBoer told NHL.com. “But we’re not going to wait until he’s 100 percent to get him back. That’s not realistic.”

The Devils haven’t said what’s wrong with Kovalchuk’s shoulder, only offering a timetable for return (2-4 weeks).

Kovalchuk hasn’t said much either, other than he was in a lot of pain and still hasn’t been able to take hard shots.

“You gotta just keep yourself in shape and do what the trainers and the doctors tell you to,” Kovalchuk explained. “We’ve got a great group of guys here who are very professional and I trust them 100 percent.

“I just try to work hard. We all know the situation we are in and I want to be back as soon as possible.”

The Devils have nine games left in their season, including Wednesday night’s Rivalry Game against the Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

They currently sit ninth in the East, two back of the eighth-place Islanders for the conference’s final playoff spot.

It stands to reason they won’t be making the postseason without Kovalchuk in the lineup — regardless if he’s at full health or not.

“”I’d take him at less than 100 percent,” DeBoer said. “But he’s got work to do before he’s an option.”

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: