GENERICO.ruSportBlood was shed in the duel between Kucherov and the Canadian. The victory went to the Russian genius

Blood was shed in the duel between Kucherov and the Canadian. The victory went to the Russian genius

Last year, head-to-head matches of the Tampa Bay Lightning ” and the Colorado Avalanche were fashionably called remakes of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. But today no one remembers that epic battle, as a result of which Tampa had to vacate the royal throne. Now the main plot between these clubs is entirely tied to individuals, with Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon playing the main roles.
Thanks to the fact that the most productive player of the last few NHL seasons, Connor McDavid, stalled at the start of the current regular season, Kucherov and MacKinnon immediately took the lead in the scoring race and rushed into the lead. It is their duel right now that is one of the main intrigues of the entire championship (although the same restless McDavid has every chance to wedge himself into this fight due to losses). The fate of the Hart Trophy, which at the end of the regular season is awarded to the player who has made the greatest contribution to the success of his club, largely depends on its outcome. Nikita Kucherov has repeatedly repeated that he does not pay attention to his personal points, and he is only concerned about the team’s results. However, at the same time, the Russian admits that the confrontation with MacKinnon motivates him:
“”Competing with him makes me better. I just try to go out on the court to have fun and help my team as much as I can. It’s cool when you play against the best player in the world and trying to be on the same level with him.”

MacKinnon was not left without compliments to his opponent. On the eve of a face-to-face meeting with Kucherov, the Canadian said that he was inspired by Nikita’s game: behind him, I get a lot of tips for my game.”
Today's match between Tampa and Colorado met all expectations. Especially those related to the duel between Kucherov and MacKinnon, because these two players became one of the main heroes of the fight in Florida. The Russian emerged victorious from this battle.

Nikita Kucherov, recognized as the first star of the meeting, helped the Lightning beat the Avalanche and scored the winning three points. This match was already the 14th this season in which the Russian scored three or more goals. It is significant that there are significantly fewer games in which Kuch did not score a single point – only 10. In the game with Colorado, Nikita scored a double and also scored an assist. And, it should be noted, very beautiful – with one pass from his zone, he cut through the entire Avalanche defense and brought Lightning captain Steven Stamkos one on one with the goalkeeper.

This pass, by the way, was not the only spectacular and effective one – even in the first period, Nikita performed a very original pass over the boards, after which Brayden Point scored. At first, Kucherov was listed as an assistant, but later the NHL staff responsible for statistics deprived the Russian of the assist.

The Russian had a chance to score his second hat-trick of the season. A little unlucky: Kuch seemed sure to shoot at Colorado's empty goal, but the puck treacherously missed the post by centimeters.

As for MacKinnon, the Canadian took part in two of the Avalanche's three goals. Both times Nathan acted as an assistant. At the same time, the Colorado leader had to sacrifice his health. In the middle of the second period, MacKinnon was hit in the face by a puck, so much so that the hockey player’s nose began to bleed. For some time, the Canadian left the court and went to the locker room, where he received medical assistance, after which he was allowed to return to the game.

The result of the match was 6:3 in favor of Tampa. The result of the duel between Kucherov and MacKinnon is 3:2 in favor of the Russian. Nikita continues to lead the season's scoring race by a margin and has 93 points (36+57) after 54 matches. MacKinnon is next with 89 points (32 goals, 57 assists) in 55 games. Very soon these giants will reach hundreds, and Kucherov will most likely rewrite the legendary NHL record among Russians (128 points per season). By the way, it belongs to Nikita, a living phenomenon and hockey genius.

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