Better than Ovechkin and Malkin: Kucherov scored four points in one match and became the most productive player in the NHL in 12 years
Russian hockey player Nikita Kucherov scored a double and made two assists in the victorious Tampa Bay Lightning match with the Detroit Red Wings. He scored 115 points for the season, breaking personal records of Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin. Kucherov also set a record among Russians in the number of scoring passes - 80 in one year. Meanwhile, Ovechkin rose to 48th place in performance in the history of the NHL, and Ilya Kovalchuk was the worst forward of the season.
Kucherov: four points and a Russian record
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning striker, who was the season's top scorer, scored four more points for his performance in the match with the Detroit Red Wings.
By the beginning of the second period, the club from Florida was losing away with a score of 0: 3. Detroit hockey players even managed to score in the minority when Kucherov was the only defender. His defensive skills were not up to par, but the Russian completely coped with his direct duties in the future.
To remedy the situation, Tampa head coach John Cooper sent Kucherov in one of the top three with Steven Stemkos and Braden Point. And in the next twenty minutes, they brought the guests forward. Kucherov made two assists and threw the puck in the fourth second of the majority draw.
At the end of the match, the Russian hockey player scored again, taking advantage of the brilliant Paz Point to the penny. This goal was just really needed by the team - “Detroit” then managed once again to upset Andrey Vasilevsky, who finished the game with 23 saves. Thus, the double of Kucherov brought Tampa the 54th victory of the season, as well as the 25th away game, a repetition of two club records of the previous year.
Kucherov scored four or more points in one match for the 11th time this season. In total, his asset already has 115 (35 + 80) points for performance - only Connor McDavid managed to exchange a hundred on the same day. Such statistics have not been submitted to anyone for more than ten years since Sidney Crosby from Pittsburgh Penguins scored 120 points in the 2006/2007 season. Kucherov walked around Yevgeny Malkin’s personal records in one evening (113 points) and Alexander Ovechkin (112 points). Until the end of the regular season, there are still 11 matches, and the Tampa forward can beat not only Crosby's achievement, but also Sergei Fedorov, who earned 120 points a season ago a quarter century ago.
The absolute Russian record for goals and passes for Kucherov will be difficult to set - it is 127 points scored by Alexander Mogilny. But according to broadcasts, a native of Maykop has already become the best in the history of Russian hockey. 80 successful passes is a new record, which previously belonged to Evgeni Malkin for ten years. Nobody in the league has been able to go on the ninth dozen in scoring passes since the 2009/2010 season, when Henrik Sedin 83 times assisted partners from Vancouver Canucks.
Ovechkin: 13th hundred points
Successfully another game day and hockey players, “Washington Capitals”. They beat the Philadelphia Flyers on the road with a score of 5: 2, winning the eighth victory in the last nine games, and continued to lead in their division.
Yevgeny Kuznetsov scored two points, giving the first pass to Tom Wilson, after which the guests led with the score 4: 1. Then the Russian striker accurately aimed at an empty goal in the 58th minute.
In the episode with the last goal, Alexander Ovechkin distinguished himself - he gave a pass in the central zone, and Kuznetsov rushed to the front of goal. Recently, the captain of "Washington" scored 1200 points in his career and now conquers the 13th hundred points. In the general statistics of the NHL, Ovechkin climbed to 48th place in history, overtaking Dino Sassirelli. The next guideline for Russians should be Vincent Damfuss, who has 1205 points in assets. At the same time, Ovechkin may lead the pursuit of Sidney Crosby, who is seven points higher than the Capitals attacker.
Kovalchuk: worst utility among the attackers
Ilya Kovalchuk is going through hard times in his career. His "Los Angeles Kings", the worst club of the Western Conference, suffered another defeat, losing this time at home "Nashville Predators" with a score of 1: 3.
Olympic champion to help the team failed. Moreover, his unsuccessful series has grown to five matches. During this period, Kovalchuk’s utility indicator dropped another five points and has already reached “–25”. This season is the worst result among the attackers. “Less useful” in the league are only the defenders of Rasmus Ristolainen from “Buffalo Sabers” and Kovalchuk's teammate Drew Doughty.
If “Los Angeles” will lose three more matches in the main time, then it will definitely not get into the playoffs, and the season for Kovalchuk will be over. In this case, he will be able to join the Russian team at the World Championships in Slovakia. The striker himself has already expressed a desire to help the national team if head coach Ilya Vorobyov calls him.