Kucherov scores again to lead Lightning’s streak

by Gary Shelton on October 15, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Kucherov has scored five goals in five games./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov has scored five goals in five games./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 2:30 a.m.

At this rate, Nikita Kucherov will score only 82 goals this season.

Just that.

Kucherov, a 40-goal scorer a year ago, is on pace to more than double that so far this season. Kucherov scored a goal for the fifth straight game Saturday night as the Lightning beat the St. Louis Blues, 2-1.

The victory kept the Bolts' hot start going. They're 4-1 after five games.

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Johnson scored the first goal on a power play./JEFFREY S. KING

Johnson scored the first goal on a power play./JEFFREY S. KING

“I watched our team grow tonight," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "The way we played in the first period as opposed to how we played in the second and third. Gave one up in the third, but we were a little more responsible tonight.”

On the home stand, the Lightning beat the Capitals, the Penguins and the Blues.

“Where we were sitting a week ago tonight versus where we’re sitting now, we’re definitely a lot happier," Cooper said. "We’re playing with a lot more urgency and a lot more responsibility, and that’s why we’ve strung together a couple wins here.”

The Bolts scored on a second period power play by Tyler Johnson. Kucherov made the score 2-0.

“We like the way we’re playing right now.," Johnson said "We wanted to be a little bit better defensively, but I think every game we have gotten a little bit better so that’s a big plus for us. We’re scoring goals and getting those chances, so if we can continue playing the way we’re playing I like our odds.”

Kucherov has been far and away the Lightning's most dangerous scorer so far.

“The guys set me up really well," Kucherov said of his goal. "I got on the backhand, and I kind of got a lucky one because I was in the middle of falling.”

This time, goaltender Andrie Vasilevskiy was in control all the way.

“Tonight, guys played really well in the front," Vasilevskiy said. "Lots of blocked shots and good plays. That’s why they got only one goal.”

Said Johnson: “I think if you ask anyone in this room, they would say Vasy has been our best player. He stood on his head a couple of occasions for us, and he’s just a great goaltender. We’re fortunate to have him back there. That’s the reason why we get some of our wins.”

Tampa Bay travels to Detroit Monday night.

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