Kucherov ties Tampa single-season points mark in 5-2 win
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nikita Kucherov’s daily work is netting record-tying results.
Kucherov’s two points give him 108 on the season to tie the single-season mark set by Vincent Lecavalier in the 2006-07 season when he finished with 52 goals and 58 assists.
“I just try to work on my game every day and see what happens,” Kucherov said.
The league-leading Lightning improved to 14-1-2 in the past 17 games.
“He’s an unbelievable player to watch and you just learn from him, how he sees play and the plays he makes out there,” Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph said of Kucherov.
Steven Stamkos scored his 34th goal of the season and 382nd of his career and is one shy of tying Lecavalier’s career franchise record.
Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 30 saves for his 10th consecutive victory and improved to 11-0-2 in his past 13 starts.
Blake Wheeler and Jacob Trouba scored for Winnipeg, which fell to 2-3 in the past five games.
“The last three games we did a pretty nice job of taking care of the puck, we weren’t so good tonight,” Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said. “They got way more to the net than we did. They made earlier decisions to get the puck to the net than we did.”
Connor Hellebuyck, who briefly left the game after taking Kucherov’s slap shot off the mask, allowed four goals on 36 shots. Laurent Brossoit allowed one goal on the two shots he faced in 3:16 of ice time.
Kucherov tied the mark with a secondary assist on Stamkos’ power-play goal at 14:25 of second period and the primary assist on Point’s power-play goal at 9:50 of the third period. Kucherov has 77 assists on the season.
Gourde scored on a breakaway 1:34 into the game while Wheeler answered with a power-play goal at 6:31.
Tampa Bay pulled away in the second period with goals from Erne at 8:58 and Stamkos at 14:26.
Paquette scored his 10th of the season at 4:20 of the third period before Point added his 37th of the season and league-leading 19th on the power play.
Trouba banked a puck off a stanchion for a power-play goal as Vasilevskiy was behind the net at 15:03 of the third.
“We’ve got a game that can beat those guys, we tried to play their game,” Wheeler said. “They capitalize on turnovers, they are a quick team, it led to some odd-man rushes, that’s their game.”
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the opening faceoff in honor of Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay, who died on Monday. … Winnipeg C Adam Lowry served the second game of his two-game suspension for a high-sticking incident on March 1. He is eligible to return on Friday at Carolina. … Lightning D Victor Hedman earned his 127th power-play point to pass Dan Boyle for most career power-play points by a defenseman in franchise history. … Erne’s goal was his first since Dec. 29. … Wheeler has six goals during a three-game, goal-scoring streak. … Lightning LW Ondrej Palat had his 189th career assist to tie Brian Bradley for eighth most in franchise history.
Jets: At Carolina on Friday
Lightning: Host Minnesota on Thursday