Tampa Bay Lightning right-winger Nikita Kucherov had a perfecting ending to his already historic 2018-2019 season. The 25-year-old had already set records for both highest scoring player in Lightning franchise history and highest scoring player in the NHL since Mario Lemieux during the 1995-1996 season. However, Kucherov’s latest accolade was one truly for the record books.
After a come from behind 6-3 win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon to conclude the year. The Russian native managed to notch a goal and an assist. The two tallies puts Kucherov at a whopping 41 goals, 87 assists, for a total of 128 points on the season.
The 128 points now marks the most points ever scored by a Russian born player. The previous record was held by Alexander Mogilny during the 1992-1993 season who notched 127 tallies according to NHL Discussion.
Kucherov’s 128 points also gives him his first Art Ross Trophy of his career. He finished with more points than anyone else in the NHL by a large margin. Farther down the list in second place was Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers with 116 tallies.
Kucherov’s league leading 87 assists has propelled his teammates to successful seasons as well. Both forwards Steven Stamkos and Brayden Points hit the 40-goal plateau this season along with Kucherov. Stamkos finished with a team leading 45 goals while Point managed to find the back of the net 41 times. Thanks to the efforts of Kucherov, Stamkos, and Point, the Lighting were the only club this year to contain three 40-goal scorers.
As a team, the Lightning also entered the record books with the victory over the Bruins. The win ties them with the 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings for most victories in a single season with 62.
The Lightning’s 62-16-4 record easily gives them the Presidents Trophy for most points in the league with 128. The Lightning will begin the first-round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night. Their first-round opponents will be the Columbus Blue Jackets who barely edged out the Montreal Canadiens for the final wildcard spot with a 47-31-4 record and 98 points.
The Lightning are heavily favored to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup this year. However, despite having four close chances at seizing control of the Stanley Cup in the last eight years, the Lighting came up short all four times. They were eliminated in-game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, 2017, and 2018 to the Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals while losing in-game six of the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 to the Chicago Blackhawks. If the Lightning want to finally break the curse and hoist a Stanley Cup in June, Kucherov must stay hot and continue to pile up points all throughout the playoffs.