As the push for the playoffs roll on, the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to stack points. For the second time this season, the Bolts have won five games in a row. The Lightning matched its longest win streak of the campaign with a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Thursday night at SAP Center in California to move to 38-25-6 on the season.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring just 4:53 into the first period off a fortuitous bounce that ended with Nick Paul lighting the lamp for the 19th time this season.

After Victor Hedman pinched up the left boards to collect a loose puck in the offensive zone, the big defensemen attempted to rim the puck behind the San Jose net for Nikita Kucherov. But the attempted pass deflected off the skate of the official behind the net and bounced right to the front of the net, where Paul was waiting to catch the puck, drop it onto his stick blade and fire a shot into the open net before Mackenzie Blackwood could recover.

The 1-0 lead only lasted 2:28 for the Bolts with William Eklund scoring his 11th goal of the year at the 7:21 mark of the first to even the score at 1-1. After a turnover in the neutral zone resulted in a 2-on-1 for the Sharks, Jacob MacDonald sent a pass across the seam to Eklund, who ripped a one-timer past Andrei Vasilevskiy to send the teams to the first intermission in a 1-1 tie.

Following a scoreless second period, the Lightning opened the third period on the power play and took advantage when Brayden Point scored his 39th goal of the season to make it a 2-1 game.

Taking a pass from Steven Stamkos, Kucherov fired a shot on goal that was stopped by Blackwood, but Point was right there to jump on the rebound and give Tampa Bay a one-goal lead just 34 seconds into the third period.

With the Bolts taking control of the game, Anthony Duclair made his mark on the contest and scored against his former team to hit the 20-goal mark on the season and put his new team up 3-1 with 13:10 remaining in regulation.

After Point sent a pass to Kucherov, the NHL’s scoring leader found Duclair, who quickly collected the puck and roofed a backhand over the glove of Blackwood to extend his point streak with the Lightning to five games.

As Tampa Bay’s top line continued to make plays, Kucherov recorded his fourth point of the night with the primary assist on Point’s second goal of the contest that pushed the lead to three goals.

Working alongside Duclair in the corner in the offensive zone, Kucherov was knocked to his knees, yet still managed to gain possession of the puck and send a backhand pass right to Point, who wired his 40th goal of the season past Blackwood to put a bow on the 4-1 win.

Vasilevskiy finished the night with 21 saves on 22 shots against to improve to 26-16-1 on the season.

Bolts by the Numbers

Nikita Kucherov recorded his eighth four-point game of the season, collecting assists on each of the Lightning’s four goals to extend his assist streak to 12 games (5-23—28), the longest in Tampa Bay franchise history. Kucherov leads all NHL skaters with 122 points this season (40-82—122) and joined Connor McDavid as the only active players to post multiple 120-point seasons. Kucherov became the fourth player born outside North America in NHL history to record multiple 120-point seasons, joining Jaromir Jagr (4x), Peter Stastny (3x) and Jari Kurri (2x). Kucherov has now recorded 19 three-point games this season, surpassing his previous single-season franchise record of 18 in 2018-19. Kucherov has now recorded three seasons with 80 or more assists, making him just the seventh player in NHL history with at least three 80-assist seasons. Kucherov has posted four assists in a single game four times this year, marking a new Lightning franchise record. Kucherov has recorded 15 points over his last four contests (3-12—15), matching the highest total by a Tampa Bay skater over a four-game span. Kucherov joined McDavid as the only two active players to post four or more four-assist games in a single season.

Brayden Point scored two goals and picked up one assist for his eighth three-point game of the season. Point has now scored 10 game-winning goals this season, tied with Elias Pettersson for the most among all NHL skaters. Point (40-38—78) has now recorded three 40-goal seasons, tied with Nikita Kucherov for the second-most in Lightning franchise history and trailing only Steven Stamkos, who has accomplished the feat six times. Point has scored a goal in 11 of his last 15 games (15-9—24).

Anthony Duclair scored one goal and added an assist to push his point streak to five games (4-3—7). Duclair has pointed in each of his five games with Tampa Bay, tying him with Rob DiMaio for the longest point streak to begin a career with the Lightning in franchise history.

Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 21 saves and has won five consecutive contests, his longest win streak of the season. Vasilevskiy has won 25 games since December 1, the most among all NHL goaltenders during that span.

Steven Stamkos picked up one assist to extend his season-long point streak to seven games (3-9—12).

Nick Paul continued his career season with his 19th goal of the campaign, his sixth game-opening goal of the campaign, tied with Brayden Point for the most among all Tampa Bay skaters.

Victor Hedman recorded one assist and is up to 68 points on the year (12-56—68) with seven points over his last five contests (2-5—7).

Bolts Quotes

Steven Stamkos on Brayden Point hitting 40 goals: “He’s an elite goal scorer in this league. I was joking with him on the bench. I think he didn’t score the first nine or 10 games of the year, so really it’s 40 in the last 60 games or something. He’s a heck of a player. Him and Kuch obviously have great chemistry out there and Dukes has been on that line lately. They scored a couple big insurance goals for us. Pointer’s been outstanding for us. Same with Kuch obviously and during these past five or six games where we’ve really needed the points.”

Jon Cooper on Anthony Duclair: “He's played five games for us and he's pointed in every one of them and a few of them have been goals and he's scored some big ones for us. That's why we brought him in was to have a positive impact on our team and he's done that. And he's fit pretty well with 21 and 86.”

Stamkos on the second intermission: “We came in here and we said, 'Listen, these points are too valuable for our group at this time of the year, no matter who we're playing.' I thought we responded really well in the third and obviously a big two points for us.”

Cooper on Point hitting 40 goals: “That's what he does. He'll be the first probably to give a lot of credit to his linemates and that is due, but he's been a heck of a player for us for a long time. That's a special mark. Not a lot of guys get to that every year and he's done it the past couple. Good for him.”

Krenner’s Three Stars

  1. Nikita Kucherov
  2. Brayden Point
  3. Anthony Duclair

Lightning Look Ahead

  • Saturday, March 23 at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET, Crypto.com Arena
  • Sunday, March 24 at Anaheim Ducks, 8:30 p.m. ET, Honda Center
  • Wednesday, Match 27 vs. Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m. ET, AMALIE Arena - Buy Tickets