Lightning Notebook: Stamkos, Kucherov Piling Up Points; Another 50-Win Season

Lightning Notebook: Stamkos, Kucherov Piling Up Points; Another 50-Win Season

TAMPA, FL. – The personal milestones have been piling up the past week, and with them has come a four-game win streak the Lightning will take into Thursday night’s game at Columbus.

While it may have absolutely nothing to do with how the Lightning fare against their yet-to-be-determined first-round opponent, it is certainly better to be firing on all cylinders heading into the postseason derby.

“Everything is coming together at the right time, and I think that is more important,” said Steven Stamkos, following a four-point effort in a 4-1 win over the visiting Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. “We want to be feeling good about ourselves going into the postseason. We have a couple of games left, and certainly, we are trending in that direction.”

Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos, Credit: Tampa Bay Lightning

On Tuesday, Stamkos reached the 100-point plateau for the first time in his 14-year career. He entered the game with 97 points, one behind what was his previous high, established in 2018-19.

“It is a special moment, something I have never done before,” said the 32-year-old, who had two goals and two assists against the Blue Jackets. “I have come pretty close, so to do it in year 14…. I am just more proud of the fact that I’ve probably proved a lot of people wrong. It’s the people that have always believed in me that make these moments pretty special because you can’t help but think of them when your reach something cool like (100 points.)”

Stamkos stretched his points streak to seven games, during which he has seven goals and an eye-opening 21 points. He has also recorded at least one point in 16 of the last 18 games, going 12-23-35 during the run.

Kucherov has been torrid of late as well. He had a goal and three assists against Columbus to extend his goal-scoring streak to seven games, during which he has nine goals. The 28-year-old, who has 24 goals in 45 games and recorded his 600th career point – an assist on a Stamkos goal that was the captain’s team record 954th career point – in an 8-1 win against the Maple Leafs last Thursday, has 13 goals in his last 13 games.

Victor Hedman, who has established career highs in goals (20), assists (62) and points (82) this season, recorded his 600th career point Tuesday. In doing so, the defenseman extended his scoring streak to six games. He is 1-13-14 during the streak.

“The last few games it seems like I have been handing out three our four pucks to guys with milestones,” said coach Jon Cooper, whose team has scored 40 goals in the last seven games. “Whether it is Heddy, Kuch, Stammer, Killorn or Vasy, you just go down the list. When you are doing that, usually good things are happening.”

For the record, Alex Killorn picked up his 400th career point in last week’s game against Toronto and Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his 10,000th save in a loss to Detroit last Tuesday.

Century mark: Stamkos’ 100-point season is the fifth in franchise history. Kucherov is on top with 128 points in 2018-19. That is followed by Vincent Lecavalier (108, 2006-07), Martin St. Louis (102, 2006-07), Stamkos at 101 and counting, and Kucherov (100, 2017-18).

Walled off: On Tuesday night, the Lightning were credited with 25 blocked shots to eight by the Blue Jackets. Brayden Point (5) and Ryan McDonagh (4) combined for more blocks than Columbus had as a team. 

50 wins: Tuesday night’s win over Columbus was the Lightning’s 50th of the season. It marked the fourth time in franchise history that plateau has been reached with the other seasons 2018-19 (62), 2017-18 (54) and 2014-15 (50).

Goals for Food: The Lightning and the Mosaic Company, in conjunction with the team’s Goals for Food program, teamed up with Feeding Tampa Bay to collect 826 pounds of food and nearly $800 in monetary donations during a pregame food drive before last Thursday night’s game against the Maple Leafs.

This season, the Lightning helped Mosaic raise $70,000, which was donated to Feeding Tampa Bay and 13 other food pantries. 

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