On Monday the NHL announced that Nikita Kucherov was named the first star of the week for the week ending March 6th. It’s the second time the high-scoring Russian has received this award, having also been named the first star for the week ending November 6th.
It was a dominating week for the 23-year-old. He kicked it off by recording 4 points in the Lightning’s 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. He recorded his second career hat trick in the second period of the game, banging home 3 straight goals on the power play.
His next game was on Wednesday against Carolina. The Lightning picked up the 4-3 overtime victory. Kucherov had his hand in 3 of the 4 goals, assisting on both of Victor Hedman’s goals (including the OT winner) while adding a goal of his own in the third period.
On Friday he ran his goal scoring streak to 5 with a power play goal early in the third period that briefly tied the game at two. The Penguins pulled away with a 5-2 victory.
Returning to the ice the next night in Buffalo, Kucherov assisted on Tyler Johnson’s game-tying goal in the second period, but saw his goal streak come an end. He did cap off the skills competition by deking Robin Lehner in the shootout. After telling Andrei Vasilevskiy his plan, Kucherov went on the ice and pulled off the scintillating goal that had everyone across the world talking and Tweeting about it.
The Lightning scored 12 goals over the week, and Kucherov had a hand in 9 of them. The fourth-year winger has 28 goals (2 off of his career high) and 63 points (3 points off a career high) this season. While he has been scoring at a consistent pace all season, his stats have exploded since Jon Cooper reunited the Triplets line late in a game against Edmonton at the end of February.
Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky and Montreal’s Carey Price were the other two stars named by the NHL.