Bolts win big road game against Leafs

by Gary Shelton on April 4, 2024

in general

Kucherov set team record for points./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

The bigger the win, the less time there is to admire one’s accomplishments.

That said, the members of the Tampa Bay Lightning  spent a lot of Wednesday night polishing their resumes.

The Bolts won in one of their best performances, drubbing the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1. They had lost their previous four games to Toronto. But the Lighting have won nine of their last 11 games and are playing as well as at any point of the season.

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Want to talk accomplishments? Consider:

— Nikita Kucherov had three assists, giving him a franchise record of 130 points. Kucherov, who leads the league in scoring, has had the three highest season totals in Lightning history.

— Brayden Point scored his league-leading 12th game-winning goal. Point has 43 goals on the year one season after scoring 51.

— Steven Stamkos  scored his 32nd goal.

— Andrei Vasilevskiy won his 29th game of the year. He has won at least 30 in six straight seasons.

The Lightning actually didn’t like their opening period in which the  teams were tied 1-1. Still, they fought back to take a 3-1 lead after two. Nick Paul scored the final goal.

“I get to stand there every night and hope people watch (Kucherov),” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “Just how uniquely talented he is. You can’t get that way unless you have an internal drive. If you watch the way he played that third period, the compete. He’s a marvel to watch. In a big game for us, he was unreal.”

Cooper also appreciated the way that Vasilevskiy has gotten into shape as the season has gone along.

“Vas may not have the goals-against and the save percentage he’s used to,” Cooper said. “But he has the wins. A big part of that is our fault. We didn’t play well enough in front of him.”

The Bolts play again tonight in Montreal to face the Canadians at  7 p.m. 

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