DETROIT, MI - MAY 27: Henrik Zetterberg #40 and Valterri Filppula #51 of the Detroit Red Wings battle for the puck along the boards with Michal Handzus #26 and Patrick Sharp #10 of the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena on May 27, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Playoffs Tonight: Wings, ‘Hawks division rivalry ends with Game 7

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The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will participate in the Western Conference finals. Tonight their opponent will be determined in a win or go home Game 7:

Chicago Blackhawks hosts Detroit Red Wings (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Series tied at 3-3

The Red Wings pushed the Blackhawks to the brink, but haven’t been able to seal the deal. After taking a 3-1 series lead, Chicago won cleanly on Saturday and came back from a 2-1 deficit in the third period.

Still, the Red Wings don’t seem demoralized going into this contest. In fact, Detroit coach Mike Babcock seems rather upbeat.

“If I would’ve told Detroit and Michigan we would play in Chicago in Game 7, I think everybody would be excited about that,” coach Mike Babcock said, according to the Detroit News. “I love Game 7s. We’ve got a chance to push them out of the playoffs. It should be a lot of fun.”

He’s right, going into this series most people didn’t just expect Chicago to win, they expected them to do it cleanly. Instead for three consecutive games the Red Wings, and goaltender Jimmy Howard in particular, did a great job of neutralizing Chicago’s potent offense.

Lately though, it’s been another story. The Blackhawks top players have begun to thaw from their cold stretches and their depth players have come up big as well. Michael Frolik, Michal Handzus and Bryan Bickell were the heroes in Chicago’s come-from-behind victory on Monday.

“You can feel it: guys want to be on the ice, they’re comfortable out there,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “We’re excited about the opportunity. I like the way we played the last couple of games and we want to play our best game [tonight].”

With Detroit moving to the Eastern Conference next season, this Central division rivalry will end tonight. Both teams seemed pumped for what should be a thrilling close to this chapter of the game.

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: