Nikita Kucherov scored a second period natural power play hat trick to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at Amalie Arena on last night.
Not a bad way to come out after losing Ben Bishop (Kings) and Brian Boyle (Maple Leafs) via trade in the last 48 hours.
Brayden Point and Braydon Coburn also scored for the Bolts (28-25-8) and new number one netminder, Vasilevskiy made 39 saves for his first win in over a month.
Kucherov is the third player in Lightning history to net a natural hat trick, joining Chris Kontos and Martin St. Louis.
Jonathan Drouin had an assist on all three of Kucherov’s goals.
Four Lightning players had multiple point nights: Kucherov (3 goals and an assist), Drouin (3 assists), Victor Hedman (2 assists) and Tyler Johnson (2 assists).
“Kuch was on fire,” said goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Drouin on Kucherov’s right circle one timers, “He loves that shot. That’s his favorite shot. I’ve seen him practice that a lot.”
Coach Cooper on Kucherov, “When he’s got that shooter’s mentality with the gift he has to put the puck in the back of the net… This is what happens.”
Kucherov on his second career hat trick, “It’s a nice feeling, especially when you realize you have the team win.”
The Lightning pulled within five points of the Maple Leafs for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay is off on Tuesday and will host Carolina on Wednesday at 7:00 PM.
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