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Now the Leafs and Bruins are arguing about faceoffs

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A predominant theme has emerged in the early part of the Stanley Cup playoffs:

Faceoffs.

More specifically, cheating on faceoffs.

The topic has already arisen in the Vancouver-San Jose and Chicago-Minnesota series and is now making waves in Toronto-Boston — the Bruins have dominated throughout the series, but Game 3 was their most dominant effort yet.

Boston won 60 percent of its draws and 71 percent in the defensive zone, results that Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle questioned.

“Specifically when you’re at home, you think that you would be afforded some of the staples of the opposition having to be down first and stop,” Carlyle told TSN, regarding the number of times his centers were waved out.

“In our review, there was some things that were going on out there that we don’t agree with.”

Boston head coach Claude Julien’s response?

“It’s going to be interesting to see whether the referees and the linesmen just do their job and not worry about who’s crying wolf.”

Faceoffs have been a major source of controversy not just this playoff, but during the regular season as well.

At the start of 2013, the NHL implemented a new rule preventing faceoff participants from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the draw.

Any player caught doing so would be given a two-minute delay of game minor.

In the postseason, a new issue has arisen — players getting tossed out.

Toronto’s Tyler Bozak was booted from a number of draws during Game 3 (when he asked why, Bozak was told he wasn’t coming to a complete stop before the puck was dropped) and Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu got a “stern talking-to from linesmen a handful of times,” during Sunday’s win over Chicago.

“It seemed like just from watching, when Bozie was coming down [with his stick], they were starting to come up and he was trying to counteract that and he was getting tossed,” Toronto’s Jay McClement explained. “It’s tough when you’re getting tossed all the time.

“It’s tough to cheat the way you normally do and time it because then you just get tossed more and more.”

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: