4 things we learned in the NHL: Lightning strikes in bunches


Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov, centre, celebrates a goal. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Nikita Kucherov extended his point streak to double digits, Connor McDavid’s consecutive games streak came to an end and Mattias Janmark picked up an assist in peculiar fashion.

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

Lightning strikes in bunches

Opposing teams are well aware that the Tampa Bay Lightning offence is capable of producing goals in a hurry. However, knowing that fact doesn’t make it any easier to contain.

The New Jersey Devils found out the hard way Monday night, suffering a lopsided 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Atlantic Division leaders. It didn’t take Lightning star Nikita Kucherov long to extend his point streak to 10 games, with the forward firing home his 12th goal on a wicked wrist shot to open the scoring.

Kucherov’s 10-game point streak is his longest since Dec. 2017, and his third double-digit streak since the start of last season. The 25-year-old opened the 2017-18 campaign with points in each of the Lightning’s first 11 games.

The Russian also became the 12th active player to record double-digit point streaks in consecutive seasons.

Later in the opening frame Kucherov assisted on Brayden Point’s 20th goal, joining the Colorado Avalanche’s star duo of Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon as the only other player to reach the 40-point plateau this campaign in the process. He added two more helpers before the final horn sounded, earning his first four-point performance since Feb. 15.

Through 28 games, Tampa Bay is the league’s lone 20-win team. The Bolts are also the only team to score 100 or more goals so far this season. Tampa’s 108 goals give it nine more than Colorado, the NHL’s second-highest scoring outfit.

Nashville is elite at keeping pucks out of nets

If having Pekka Rinne as their starting goaltender didn’t confirm it already, the Nashville Predators are hockey’s most elite team when it comes to limiting goals against.

The Predators allow a league-low 2.34 goals against per contest, and after Monday’s 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the team has now limited opponents to one goal or less in nine of its 28 games this season.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone then that Nashville has allowed just 66 goals against this season, the league’s second-lowest total. The Boston Bruins — who have played two fewer games than Nashville — have allowed 64.

McDavid is human after all

It appears even hockey’s greatest player battles the flu on occasion.

Connor McDavid’s 222 consecutive games played streak ended on Monday after the superstar sat with an illness. It was McDavid’s first missed game since January 2016, which dates way back to his rookie season. After being sidelined for nearly half of his rookie season with a broken clavicle, No. 97 has fortunately had a clean bill of health since, playing 82 games in back-to-back campaigns.

Another 82-game output may no longer be a possibility in the phenom’s fourth-year, but McDavid should still sleep easy knowing he’s still well on his way to a third straight 100-point finish.

The Edmonton Oilers could have used their leading point producer while attempting to win a season-best fourth consecutive game. Ultimately, the Dallas Stars had other ideas, handing the McDavid-less Oilers a 4-1 loss.

Who says a broken twig is useless?

Typically, when a player breaks his stick mid-play, they’re rendered somewhat useless for the remainder of an offensive possession until getting a fresh twig from the bench.

But as Mattias Janmark proved on Monday, that isn’t always the case.

Janmark broke his stick as the Stars were deep in the Oilers’ zone seeking an opening goal. Somehow, even as his stick shattered, the Swede was able to get enough force on his pass to pick up an assist.

The play wasn’t pretty, but hey, it counts nonetheless.

Janmark wound up registering another, less fluky assist, making his presence felt in a two-point effort.

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