Even in the stunningly score-happy 2018-19 season, 71 points would be fantastic work for, you know, mere mortals.
After generating a goal and an assist in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 4-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, Nikita Kucherov already has that many points in just 43 games. Yeah.
Along with getting a primary assist on a Brayden Point goal, Kucherov connected for his 21st goal of the season with this tally:
To give some mind-boggling perspective, consider this: on Jan. 8, 2018, Kucherov topped all NHL scorers with 59 points in 42 games, seven points more than anyone else at that time. The slacker.
Kucherov isn’t just leading the NHL with those 71 points; he’s also rubbing elbows with some of the game’s greats. The league pointed out some staggering stats:
- Kucherov is the first player to reach 70+ points in 43 games since Jaromir Jagr hit that mark in 38 contests, way back in 1999-2000. Former Lightning great Martin St. Louis managed to hit 70 in 53 contests back in 2006-07, which was the best pace between Jagr’s feat and Kucherov doing so on Tuesday.
- His playmaking has been especially prolific. The NHL notes that Kucherov is the 10th player to generate at least 50 assists in 43 games. The most recent time that happened came from a scary 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins group of Jagr, Mario Lemieux, and Ron Francis. No big deal.
Kucherov’s 71 points in 43 games translates to about a 1.65-point-per-game pace. If he maintained that blistering productivity, Kucherov would author an absurd 135 point season. The 2017-18 campaign represents his career-high so far in the NHL, as he generated 100 points in 80 games.
Pretty zany stuff. For a deeper dive on Kucherov’s torrid last few months, check out this recent post from PHT’s Adam Gretz.