4 things we learned in the NHL: Lightning offence proving to be unstoppable


Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates with teammates, including Victor Hedman (77), and Steven Stamkos (91) after scoring against the Boston Bruins. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

The Tampa Bay Lightning offensive trio strikes again, John Tavares writes himself into the Toronto Maple Leafs record books and Patrik Laine helps Finland set a new milestone in the NHL.

Here are four things we learned in the NHL on Monday night.

Lightning’s offence powers past Bruins

Just when the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to be in trouble against the Boston Bruins, their offence hit another gear by scoring three unanswered goals to pick up a 5-4 win.

With two goals, including his 40th of the season, and two assists, Steven Stamkos joined Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point by reaching 90 or more points this season. The last time an NHL team had three players reach the mark was in the 2005-06 season when both the Ottawa Senators and Atlanta Thrashers accomplished the feat.

Stamkos and Point become the second duo in franchise history to score 40 or more goals since Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis accomplished it in 2006-07. According to Sportsnet Stats, they also became the first pair of teammate centres to score at least 40 goals in a season since Mario Lemieux and Petr Nedved in 1995-96.

The Lightning are only the fourth team since the 1996-97 season and the first since the 2009-10 Washington Capitals to score 300 goals in a season.

Tampa Bay also matched a franchise record with 32 wins at home which they established in the 2014-15 season. With 59 wins and five games left, they will try and match the Detroit Red Wings’ single-season record of 62 wins from the 1995-96 campaign.

Tavares capitalizes on Leafs’ offensive breakout

After getting frustrated by Alexandar Georgiev on Saturday night, the Leafs chased Florida Panthers rookie Sam Montembeault early in the first period with John Tavares leading the charge.

The Leafs centre scored a career-high four goals, tying Darryl Sittler for most goals in a season by a centre with 45. He is also the first Leafs player to score four at home since Mats Sundin against the Panthers on April 11, 2006.

Tavares now holds the Leafs record for most goals by a player in their first season in the Blue and White after Eddie Olczyk had 42 in 1987-88. In 75 games, the Mississauga, Ont., native has 45 goals and 41 assists.

Laine reaches 30-goal mark for third-straight season

Laine has had an up and down season but reached the 30-goal mark for the third consecutive year becoming only the fourth player in NHL history to do so before his 21st birthday.

He joined Aleksander Barkov, Mikko Rantanen and Sebastian Aho as the fourth Finnish-born player to score 30 this season. According to NHL Public Relations, this is the first time four Finnish-born players have at least 30 goals in a campaign.

In 73 games this season, Laine has 30 goals and 20 assists. Since making his debut in the 2016-17, Laine is third in the NHL with 110 goals in 231 games trailing only Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov on the list.

Predators book another ticket to the playoffs

With their 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild, the Predators clinched a fifth-straight playoff berth and their 12th post-season appearance since the 2003-04 season.

Only the San Jose Sharks have more in that span with 14 while the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings also have 12 in that time.

The Predators currently sit second in the Central Division trailing the Winnipeg Jets by two points for the top spot. They would have to play the St. Louis Blues in the first round if the season ended today but have also won three straight first-round matchups.

Head coach Peter Laviolette has made the post-season in each season as the bench boss in Nashville. The Predators are only one of six NHL clubs to hit the 90-point mark in each of the last five seasons.

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