Yep. That’s Nikita Kucherov, all right.
Kucherov, who entered Tuesday night’s game against the Islanders with only one goal on the season, scored twice and had two assists in the Lightning’s 6-1 win. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and enabled the Lightning to end their road trip with a 3-3 record.
It was only the second time in 10 games the Bolts have scored a goal in the first period.
“This was Kuch’s best game of the year,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “He commanded the puck. Every time he went into a pile, he came out with it.”
Besides Kucherov, the Bolts got goals from Steven Stamkos, Brian Boyle, J.T. Brown and Valtteri Filppula.
“We knew that this was going to have to be a response game for us,” Stamkos said. “We got challenged internally in this room. We got challenged by the coaching staff to respond and I thought we did a great job of just playing the right way. We learned that what made us successful was just defend first and let the skill take over after that.”
“I thought it was just a complete effort,” Cooper said. “Compare and contrast to the Rangers game where it was just odd-man rush after odd-man rush, we were a really responsible team tonight, and we ended up getting the lead and then held on from there. They were a responsible group tonight.”
Ben Bishop stopped 26 of 27 shots.
“It’s nice,” Bishop said. “It’s something we needed to kind of salvage this road trip. We just took care of our end. We didn’t give up, i think we had maybe one odd-man rush, one breakaway there at the end, but we played really sound defensively and that’s what we need to do to win. Obviously, our skill would take over and it’s important to take care of our end and the guys did that tonight.”
The Lightning returns home to play the Boston Bruins on Thursday.