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Kucherov is similar to Ovechkin. Russian forward becomes the best in the world

If only famous and popular quotes, slogans, phraseological units and proverbs needed to be “scattered” among the clubs of the National Hockey League (NHL), then the saying “Revenge is a dish best served cold” would suit the current Tampa Bay Lightning lineup. If you rephrase it in relation to “lightning”, it would be “Revenge is a dish served on ice.” This is what John Cooper's gang did recently in a game against the Dallas Stars, ending a humiliating defeat with a score of 1:8 with a confident and dry victory with a score of 4:0.
Next on the list for the Lightning were the Pittsburgh Penguins. Before that fiasco in Dallas, the Lightning had just lost to the Penguins (2:4). And that defeat should also be considered humiliating. Even mocking ones. Tampa not only lost a 2-0 lead after the first period, but also missed a goal from the opposing team's goalkeeper! That goal by Tristan Jarry became truly legendary and historic – at least for Pittsburgh.

The Tampa hockey players did not allow the “penguins” to repeat such a trick in a new head-to-head meeting. Moreover, Mike Sullivan’s team literally suffered for at least one goal in the game with the “lightning” and did it just 53 seconds before the end of regulation time. Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevsky confidently went for his second consecutive shutout, but in the end he made an offensive mistake. The Russian was unable to handle the puck behind his goal, and was instantly covered by Sidney Crosby, who passed the ball to Jake Guentzel. He somehow fired at the empty goal, but even so he didn’t hit the target. Nick Paul helped him – the Tampa forward was in the path of the puck and cut it into his possession. But Vasilevskiy was so close to his 34th shutout in his NHL career! Well, even the best in the world make mistakes.

Speaking of the best. Nikita Kucherov becomes like this. Naturally, among field players. Yes, the title of the coolest hockey player on the planet is firmly held by Connor McDavid, who, perhaps, has no equal in speed and technique. But McDavid is a talented, gifted player, which, of course, does not devalue his merits. Kucherov is an athlete who made himself the best through constant training and continuous self-improvement. Ask any of Nikita’s comrades and teammates, and everyone will say that Kuch never gives himself any slack and always works hard, trying to improve what has already been brought to the highest class.

And this also applies to the Russian’s excellent throwing power and accuracy, his passes and ability to see the court so that the Lightning forward always has at least 3 excellent options for continuing the attack and turning it into a goal. Just look at Kucherov’s influence on the performance of the entire team. If we count all of Nikita’s seasons in the NHL championships (except for his debut) and subtract the number of Lightning goals in the season when the Russian missed a huge number of games due to surgery in the 2021/22 season, then the percentage of his contribution to the team’s goals scored is only only through assists will be more than 20!
This season, Nikita is even more forcing (in a good way) everyone to talk about performance. The Russian confidently leads the list of scorers in the championship and after 26 matches has 44 points (17+27). This figure is the best among all forwards of the 21st century based on the results of the first 26 matches since the beginning of the regular season. If he continues to follow this schedule, then by the end of the season he will surpass his own record for points in one regular season, which is also the best in the history of the league among all Russians. Well, Kuch is rewriting records in huge quantities.
Even today, with an assist, Nikita set a new record in Tampa history for the longest assist streak. 11 games with scoring passes in a row – no one has had that many in the entire history of the franchise.

By the way, about records, performance and the importance of Kucherov for the team. In this he is very reminiscent of Alexander Ovechkin. The Washington Capitals cannot be imagined without Ovi. “Tampa” without Kucherov is basically the same. Yes, the Lightning had to play without the Russian striker, but his contribution to the team’s actions is invaluable. This is confirmed by the facts described above. In addition, Kucherov’s functionality in the power play is also striking.

Tampa is traditionally one of the best in the entire league when it comes to converting extras. At the same time, Kucherov is increasingly playing in both special teams. Like Ovechkin, Nikita in most cases does not leave the court when playing for a numerical advantage. The only difference between him and Ovi is that the Lightning are successful, while the current Capitals only make the majority on holidays.

And, of course, Kucherov’s shot. One-timer and Ovechkin are already synonymous words. But Nikita also has a healthy shot. Both in strength and accuracy. This is evidenced by the Russian’s position in the sniper race of the season. With 17 goals, Kuch is tied for second in the entire league. What can we say if Nikita himself, albeit jokingly, says that he is trying not to concede in these components.

"Am I leading the NHL season in shots on target? Do not know what to say. I’m trying to be Ovi,” Nikita told reporters after the match with Pittsburgh.

It will happen more. According to forecasts, the Tampa forward will break the 50-goal mark. We believe in the success of the Russian.


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