Lightning’s Kucherov sets new record for points by Russian player

Watch as Nikita Kucherov splits through the Bruins defenders and beautifully slides it past Tuukka Rask for an amazing goal.

Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov officially finished the 2018-19 NHL campaign with a whopping 128 points after scoring the eventual game-winner while adding an assist in Saturday’s regular-season finale against the Boston Bruins.

Not only did that ensure the 25-year-old will win his first Art Ross Trophy (barring a 13-point effort by Connor McDavid in his final game of the season) but Kucherov also set a new record for points in a season by a Russian player.

Kucherov’s point total broke the previous record of 127 set by Alexander Mogilny back in 1992-93.

Kucherov, a should-be lock for this year’s Hart Trophy, had already established himself as one of the best offensive talents ever to emerge from his country but he’s now perched on top of a list chock full of Russian hockey royalty.

1. Kucherov, 128 points in 82 games (2018-19)
2. Mogilny, 127 points in 77 games (1992-93)
3. Sergei Fedorov, 120 points in 82 games (1993-94)
4. Evgeni Malkin, 113 points in 82 games (2008-09)
5. Alex Ovechkin, 112 points in 82 games (2007-08)
6. Pavel Bure, 110 points in 83 games (1992-93)

He’ll become just the third Russian to win the Art Ross, joining Ovechkin and two-time winner Malkin.

“Definitely a special moment for me,” Kucherov said after Saturday’s win, which tied an NHL record. “Thanks to everybody in the room and thanks for the guys helping me out. Without them, definitely wouldn’t be where I am right now. It’s a team effort. Everybody’s involved in my success.”

More than two-thirds of his points this season were apples, as well, which is a rarity considering he’s a winger.

His 128 is also the highest points total of the salary cap era, topping Joe Thornton’s 125-point campaign in 2005-06. In fact, it’s the highest points total from any player since Mario Lemieux put up 161 in just 70 games (yes, you read that correctly) back in 1995-96.

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