The Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to the second round of the 2020 National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday with a 5-4 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. In the process, Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov of Maykop, Russia set the Lightning franchise record for most playoff points.
Kucherov now has 70 playoff points (31 goals and 39 assists) in 73 games. The record was set with an assist on a goal by center Anthony Cirelli of Etobicoke, Ontario at 18:22 of the third period. The goal was dramatic as well, as it tied the game at four goals apiece, before Brayden Point scored his second overtime winner of the series. Kucherov notched an assist on Point’s goal too at 5:12 of the extra period.
So far in the Toronto bubble in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kucherov has two goals and seven assists for nine points in eight games. Kucherov’s finest playoff came in 2015 as the Lightning advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. In 26 games during Kucherov’s sophomore NHL season, the Russian had 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 26 games.
Kucherov passes Martin St. Louis of Laval, Quebec. The Canadian Olympic gold medallist from the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi had 33 goals and 35 assists for 68 points with the Lightning in five playoff seasons from 2002 to 2011. In 2004, St. Louis had 24 points (led the NHL with 15 playoff assists), as the Lightning won their only Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
The Lightning are one of three teams to win their first round playoff series on Wednesday. The others were the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche, who each won their respective series four games to one. The Bruins knocked out the Carolina Hurricanes with a 2-1 win, while the Colorado Avalanche hammered the Arizona Coyotes 7-1. The Avalanche dominated the Coyotes in five games. In the series, Colorado outscored Arizona 22-8.