Lately, the main focus of the public and press in the NHL has been on Alexander Ovechkin, who continues to chase Wayne Gretzky's all-time record and is about to become the second-most career goalscorer in league history.

However, Tampa's striker Nikita Kucherov spends an equally bright season, whose achievements sometimes remain in the shadows.

But the Russian striker at the beginning of the season gave out a phenomenal scoring streak of 11 matches, but in general he scored 45 (11 + 34) points in 29 games played.

In December, the 29-year-old striker added to his goalscoring account in six games in a row.

The last of them were especially memorable, in which Kucherov scored two assistant hat-tricks in 48 hours.

First, “Tampa” on its ice did not leave a stone unturned from “Seattle”, taking over with a score of 6:2.

Kucherov participated in three scoring combinations, and one of the assists turned out just a feast for the eyes.

Toward the middle of the first period, the Russian received the puck on his blue line facing the boards, and then abruptly, without looking at the court, sent the puck exactly on the stick to Braden Point.

Canadian dragged her to the gate, and then forwarded under the throw of Eric Chernak.

Before that, Kucherov managed to assist Ian Cole, after that - to Point himself.

It was in this game that the Russian managed to overcome the mark of 400 assists in his career.

To do this, he needed only 590 matches, and this is a club record, because no one else in the Lightning has reached this bar so quickly.

Previously, the best figure belonged to Martin St. Louis (708 matches).

And among current hockey players in the league, only five got to the same mark in fewer games.

“I think you will be asking me questions like this for a long time with this selection of players.

Games, goals, points accumulate.

Gaining victories, saves.

Whatever I say about the team, these words are not enough.

We've been together for so long, and it's damn nice to watch these guys play, ”said Tampa's head coach John Cooper, commenting on Kucherov's new achievement.

And indeed, the Russian was clearly not going to stop at this achievement and rest on his laurels.

Already in the next meeting with Columbus (4: 1), he chalked up three more assists, thanks to which he led the race of league passers.

Nikita beat the season's leading scorer Connor McDavid by one point.

Probably, Kucherov is seriously determined to compete for the title of the best assistant at the end of the season, because in one of the episodes he deliberately did not send the puck into an empty net, but waited for Brandon Hagel and laid out a pass for him on a silver platter.

“Kucherov is too disinterested,” the club’s official fan group wrote on Twitter about this.

However, the Russian could have distinguished himself in this match, but an incredible save was demonstrated by Columbus goalkeeper Daniil Tarasov.

In the first period, "Tampa" laid siege to the opponent's goal and Kucherov completed the combination, it seemed, with a sure throw into the corner of the goal, but at the last moment the goalkeeper made an unimaginable jump and stopped the puck.

Many experts have already dubbed this game Tarasov's feat the "save of the year", and Daniil himself said that he was just lucky.

“There were a lot of shots, rebounds, and Kucherov hit my shields.

The puck bounced off the shields into my glove, and I thought: “My God,” the Russian said with a smile after the match.

After another assistant hat-trick, which was Kucherov's 30th in his career, he became fourth in NHL history among wingers in terms of the number of assists in the starting 29 matches of the season.

Nikita has 34 of them. The first three have 35 assists each.

This result was achieved only by Jaromir Jagr in the 1995/96 season, Mikko Rantanen (2018/19) and Dave Taylor (1981/82).

Tampa fans, on the other hand, do not cease to admire the skill of Kucherov, who was recognized as the third star of the meeting with Columbus.

In one of the discussions, the role of the Russian in the team was compared to that of Lionel Messi in the Argentina football team.

“Every time he goes on the ice, you just expect something amazing.

Heads, key passes with incredible vision,” the message reads.