The 2019 IIHF World Championships kicked-off on Friday in Slovakia and saw all eight Lightning players competing in the tournament in the opening day of games. Hart Memorial and Art Ross Trophy Finalist Nikita Kucherov had the most productive day of all the Bolts, recording a goal and two assists for Team Russia on Friday.
Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Mikhail Sergachev led the Red Machine to a 5-2 victory over Norway on Friday. Kucherov was named the player of the game for the Russians, with his three-point performance. He leads all players in the tournament for points after the first day of games. Mikhail Sergachev earned one assist in the game, a helper on Kucherov's power-play tally. Vasilevskiy turned aside 25 saves on 27 shots in the win.
Erik Cernak had an impressive tournament debut for the host country, scoring a power-play goal, as Team Slovakia defeated the USA, 4-1. Former Lightning assistant coach Craig Ramsay is the head coach for Cernak and Team Slovakia.
Anthony Cirelli and Mathieu Joseph suited up for Team Canada in a 3-1 loss to Finland. Both Cirelli and Joseph were held off the scoresheet.
Ondrej Palat and recently re-signed defenseman Jan Rutta both played in Czech Republic's 5-2 win over Sweden. Both Bolts were held off the scoresheet in the loss.
Cernak and Team Slovakia will play Finland on Saturday, while Rutta, Palat and the Czech Republic will resume action on Saturday against Norway.