It’s no surprise that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is racking up the points again this season. The 25-year-old registered 85 and 100 points his last two seasons according to NHL.com. His spark in production the last few years has earned the 2011 second-round pick recognition as one of the most lethal snipers in the league.
With two points in a 6-5 victory against the Montréal Canadiens on Saturday night, Kucherov has increased his point total on the season to 63 according to NHL.com. His 63 tallies in 39 games has propelled him to first place in scoring as Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen falls to second for the first time in over a month with 61 points.
In addition, Kucherov’s impressive month of December has been embedded in the Lightning history books. The Russian native has recorded eight goals and 20 assists for a whopping 28 points this month which is the most points notched by any Lightning player in a calendar month according to NHL.com. There is almost no doubt that Kucherov will be named first star of the month for December as a result of his incredible play.
Kucherov will have one more chance to increase his point total for December on New Year’s Eve as the Lightning face off against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
Though Kucherov is typically known as a pure goal scorer, this season he has been piling up the assists as well. His 45 assists has surpassed both Rantanen and Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler for most in the league according to NHL.com.
Kucherov’s more frequent choice to pass rather than shoot this year has allowed line mates Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point to consistently find twine. Both Stamkos and Point have 22 goals in 39 games this season according to NHL.com.
Kucherov’s play has been a huge factor for why the Lightning are having yet another elite year. The Bolts are 12-0-1 in the month of December and have a solid cushion in the standings as their 30-7-2 record and 62 points are eight points higher than the second place Toronto Maple Leafs who have 54 points on the season according to NHL.com.
Although Kucherov didn’t play in his rookie year until the 2013-2014 season, his 397 tallies in 404 contests is the most points scored by anyone in the 2011 draft class according to NHL.com. The next best point getter drafted in 2011 is Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog who has 385 tallies in 545 contests according to NHL.com.