Bolts’ dynamic duo leads to another win

by Gary Shelton on April 27, 2022

in general

Stamkos, Kucherov give hope to Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

These days, they are Batman and Robin. You can argue about who is which.

They are Holmes and Watson, or Kirk and Spock, or Jake and Elwood. They are magic times two. If the first one doesn't get you, the other one will.

They are Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, Lightning in a bottle.

And they are sneaking up on the NHL playoffs

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Stamkos and Kucherov greet each other./JEFFREY S. KING

The Bolts won their fourth straight game Tuesday night, a 4-1 stroll passed the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both Stamkos and Kucherov had four points in the victory, each adding to personal hot streaks that again have the Lightning looking like contenders. The Bolts won 50 games this year for the fourth time in franchise history.

Stamkos scored two goals and had two assists, breaking the 100-point barrier for the first time in his 14-year career. Impressed? Consider this. In the year Stamkos scored 60 goals, he didn't have 100. In the year he scored 51 goals, he didn't have 100. He twice scored 45 goals, and he didn't have 100 either time.

Ah, but he's playing with a higher-level of teammate these days, and his 61 assists are a career high.

Tuesday was his fifth straight game with at least three points. Only Jari Kurri, Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky have longer streaks, and all of them stopped after six. Stamkos is the eighth different player to post five straight.

Then there is Kucherov, who had a goal and three assists. He's now scored in seven straight games, and he has nine points in the last two.

"You go through the league, and there is (Chicago's Patrick) Kane and Jonathan Toews. (Ryan) Getzlaf and Corey Perry were together for a long time. (Evgeny) Malkin and Syd (Crosby). There are players who have that rare combination for a decade plus."

Stamkos has missed long stretches of time with injuries, but he's been strong this season. His 39 goals are his most in four seasons.

"It’s been a pretty good run here the last couple of weeks," Stamkos said. "A couple of weeks ago, I would have settled for something less than 100. It’s been a good stretch. I've been lucky to play with some very good players.

"It's still a special moment. It's something i’ve never done before. I’m more proud of the fact I’ve proved a lot of people wrong."

Teammate Victor Hedman calls Kucherov "the best player" in the league and Stamkos "the best shooter." Certainly, both seem to be in the conversation.

Hedman notched his 600th career point against Columbus. For the record, Stamkos refers to him as "the best all-around defenseman" in the league.

The Bolts have gotten a 100-point season from a player five times. Kucherov has done it twice. Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and now Stamkos have done it once.

The Bolts closed out their home schedule with the win. They travel to Columbus on Thursday night for another game against the Blue Jackets.

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