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Kucherov of Lightning scores again, continues chase of legend

Forward has seven-game goal streak to begin season; Lemieux holds NHL modern-era record at 12

NHL.com @NHL

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is off to one of the best starts to a season in NHL history, scoring a goal in each of his first seven games.

After Kucherov extended his streak in a 5-4 shootout loss at the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, only Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux has scored in more games to begin an NHL season in the past 30 years.

Lemieux scored in each of the first 12 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-93 and had 18 goals during the streak. Kucherov has eight goals after he beat Devils goalie Cory Schneider with a slap shot from the top of the left face-off circle at 14:02 of the second period. He is second in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (nine).

Video: TBL@NJD: Kucherov evens score with heavy snipe

Kucherov and Lemieux are two of six players to score in each of his team's first seven games in the NHL modern era (since 1943-44), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Mike Bossy (New York Islanders, 1984-85: 10 games), Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers, 1983-84: eight), Ken Hodge (Boston Bruins, 1973-74: seven) and Tony Tanti (Vancouver Canucks, 1983-84: seven) are the others.

Two other players scored in each of the first six games in the past 30 years. Steve Yzerman did it for the Detroit Red Wings in 1988-89, and Keith Tkachuk achieved the feat for the St. Louis Blues in 2008-09.

Kucherov, 24, scored 28 goals in 2014-15, a total that increased to 30 in 2015-16 and an NHL career-high 40 last season. 

In the first game this season, against the Florida Panthers, Kucherov scored 6:38 into the third period for his first goal, which was the game-winner in a 5-3 victory. It took Kucherov 3:30 to score in his second game, a 5-4 loss to the Panthers. In game No. 3, his goal 10:46 into the third tied the game, and he assisted on the winner in overtime of a 4-3 victory against the Capitals.

Kucherov scored 9:49 into the second period of a 5-4 win against the Penguins in his fourth game before scoring the game-winner each of the next two games, a 2-1 victory against the Blues and a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. He had two goals against Detroit.

Video: TBL@DET: Kucherov pokes a loose puck past Howard

Kucherov is five games from tying Lemieux's NHL record.

Here's a look at how Lemieux set the mark, including the box score from each game:

Oct. 6, 1992: Lemieux scores his first goal 46 seconds into the season in a 3-3 tie against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Oct. 8, 1992: Lemieux scores two goals 3:06 apart in the third period, his second and third of the season, in a 7-3 win against the Islanders

Oct. 10, 1992: In an eventual 3-3 tie with the Montreal Canadiens, Lemieux scores No. 4, a power-play goal at 17:32 of the second period.

Oct. 13, 1992: Lemieux's fifth of the season comes 1:36 into the second period of a 6-5 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

Oct. 15, 1992: Lemieux scores at 5:53 of the second period in a 5-2 win against the Canadiens, his sixth of the season.

Oct. 17, 1992: Lemieux gives the Penguins a 3-0 lead against the Hartford Whalers with his seventh goal in a 7-3 win.

Oct. 20, 1992: Lemieux extends his streak to seven with a power-play goal in the first period of a 5-1 win against the Canucks.

Oct. 22, 1992: Lemieux gets a hat trick, his ninth, 10th and 11th goals of the season, in a 9-6 win against the Red Wings.

Oct. 24, 1992: Lemieux 12th goal comes in the second period of a 4-3 win against the Devils, extending his streak to nine games.

Oct. 27, 1992: The streak hits 10 games when Lemieux scores 1:19 into the second period against the Ottawa Senators. He scores No. 14 later in the period en route to a 7-2 win.

Oct. 29, 1992: Lemieux scores twice in a 6-4 loss to the Blues, his 15th and 16th of the season, to reach 11 straight games with a goal.

Nov. 1, 1992: Lemieux scores 1:25 into the first of a 5-4 win against the Lightning. He scores late in the third period, his 18th of the season, to get the streak to 12 games. The streak ends two days later when Lemieux is unable to score in a 2-0 win against the Islanders.

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