Nikita Kucherov passed for a record

Nikita Kucherov passed for a record

Nikita Kucherov decorated an already great season with a personal goalscoring record. Having made three assists in a match of the NHL regular season, in which his Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4:1, Kucherov brought the number of points he scored in the championship to a beautiful figure of 130 and came a little closer to the title of the most productive hockey player of the season.

This match resulted in another round of vivid and emotional statements that were dedicated to Nikita Kucherov by his teammates. For example, Tampa coach John Cooper called the Russian forward’s play “magic” and said that he hoped that as many fans as possible would want to see it. She, according to Cooper, is worth admiring constantly. Forward Nick Paul was amazed by the pass that Kucherov gave to Brayden Point in the second period - from behind the goal, from a difficult position, but amazing in accuracy. It was such a shame to screw it up. Point didn't screw up. Paul was asked to list Kucherov's most valuable qualities. And he, having started to list, it seems, could not stop, remembering more and more: “His vision of the court, his skating, his hands, his throw, his deceptive movements... Well, when you look at him, it’s just some kind of madness.” .

That assist that Nick Paul mentioned was the second of three that Nikita Kucherov scored in this match. Before her, in the starting period, he assisted Victor Hedman, and in the final twenty minutes he also helped Paul score. And then he said that, of course, he knew that by his actions he had given himself a rather pleasant gift.

Nikita Kucherov turned into a full-fledged NHL superstar five years ago. In the spring of 2019, he finished the regular season with 128 points.

The amount seemed phenomenal - no one had so much in this century. Since then, only one hockey player has managed to jump over the bar set by Kucherov: a year ago, Connor McDavid from the Edmonton Oilers scored 153 points.

Nikita Kucherov will probably never reach this milestone, given that Tampa has seven matches left to play in the regular season, and will stop somewhere near it. But at least he has already broken a personal record, and the number 130 looks great.

Well, and also, together with the impressions of Kucherov’s play, of course, it hints that the forward can decorate the season with something even more pleasant. For example, the title of the league's top scorer. Before this match, the Russian was on par with Nathan MacKinnon from the Colorado Avalanche. Now I've pulled away from him a little. As well as from the second competitor. Connor McDavid was just a point behind the leading tandem. But for McDavid, this day turned into a real disaster. “Edmonton” is a club with an excellent attack, but in the match against the “Dallas Stars” it managed not to hit anyone’s goal once, losing 0:5. Accordingly, McDavid did not get any points.

In addition, the phenomenal form that Nikita Kucherov has maintained for several not even weeks, but months is a hint that Tampa, which won the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021, and reached the final series in 2022, can to shoot for the playoffs again, although relatively recently it seemed that she would have to fight desperately for a place in it. At the moment everything seems to be fine. The club, which occupies fourth place in the Atlantic Division, is unlikely to receive a very high seeding, but, in any case, it has a solid margin of safety in the finishing cells of the regular season, and the dynamics of its performances are positive: Tampa has improved in the spring - and thanks to Kucherov, and thanks to his compatriot, goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevsky.

It was he who took away the title of best player of the match against Toronto from Nikita Kucherov. Andrei Vasilevsky stopped 28 shots, and only Auston Matthews, the king among snipers in today's NHL, who is probably watched especially closely by fans of Alexander Ovechkin, allowed himself to break through. The fact is that Ovechkin still holds the sniper record of the century: in 2008, he finished the regular season with 65 goals. So, now Matthews is leading a decisive attack on him. After the match against Tampa, he had 63 goals.

Alexey Dospehov

NHL Championship scorers


1. Nikita Kucherov ("Tampa Bay") 74 42 88 130

2. Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado) 75 47 80 127

3. Connor McDavid (Edmonton) 72 29 97 126

4. Artemy Panarin (New York Rangers) 76 45 65 110

6. David Pastrnak (Boston) 76 46 58 104…

17. Kirill Kaprizov (“Minnesota”) 67 37 46 83

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