NickBonino

In praise of Nick Bonino

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There are a number of reasons why the Anaheim Ducks have won 17 of their last 18 games — outstanding goaltending from Jonas Hiller, quality defensive work from Cam Fowler and consistent scoring from the Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf duo, to name a few.

But there’s one other key contributor that’s flying under the radar — Nick Bonino.

Bonino, the club’s 25-year-old depth center, is in the midst of a breakout campaign. He has 13 goals and 33 points through 48 games — trailing only Getzlaf and Perry in points — and is the team’s second most-active faceoff man.

“He’s done a lot of great things,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told the O.C. Register. “To me, I never worry about wherever I put him … whether he scores five goals or 30 goals.

“There was always something about Nick that you knew you could trust when you put him on the ice.”

According to the Register, Boudreau expected Bonino — making $700,000 this season, locked in for three more years at $1.9 million per — to score 10-15 goals this season, and finish with 40-50 points.

At the time of writing, Bonino is on pace for a career-high 22 goals and 54 points.

To call this type of production a surprise would be fair. Bonino didn’t have much of a body of work coming into this season, never appearing in more than 50 games in a season and never scoring more than 18 points. A quality scorer at Boston University and with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, Bonino is only now finding equal success at the NHL level, thanks to his ability to win puck battles and make plays on the man advantage (where he’s feasted this year, leading Anaheim with 11 PP assists).

“He’s got a dogged determination, which I think is really good,” Boudreau explained. “And at the same time, he slips under the radar because no one looks at Nick Bonino when they’re looking at our team.”

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: