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Kucherov wins Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring leader

Lightning forward finished season with 128 points, most in League since 1995-96

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

Nikita Kucherov won the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the leading scorer in the NHL.

The Tampa Bay Lightning forward, who had a goal and an assist in a 6-3 season-ending win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, finished with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists) in 82 games. He was 12 points ahead of the runner-up, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (116 points; 41 goals, 75 assists), who played his last regular-season game against the Calgary Flames on Saturday and left in the second period with a leg injury. McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy each of the past two seasons.

Video: TBL@BOS: Kucherov sets record with his 128th point

Kucherov's 128 points are the most in the NHL in one season since 1995-96, when Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins led the League with 161 (69 goals, 92 assists) and teammate Jaromir Jagr was second with 149 (62 goals, 87 assists).

"It's definitely a special moment," Kucherov said. "Thanks to all the guys in the room for helping me out, I wouldn't be where I am now. It's a team effort."

Kucherov is the first Lightning player to win the scoring title since Martin St. Louis was first with 60 points (17 goals, 43 assists) in 48 games in 2012-13; St. Louis also won in 2003-04 with 94 points (38 goals, 56 assists). Kucherov set the Lightning season-single record for points, passing Vincent Lecavalier, who had 108 (52 goals, 56 assists) in 2006-07.

He also set the NHL single-season record for points by a Russia-born player, surpassing Alexander Mogilny, who had 127 (76 goals, 51 assists) for the Buffalo Sabres in 1992-93.

"Yeah it was pretty special," Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos said after the game Saturday. "You could tell from the bench's reaction and obviously his reaction (after his assist) that there was some meaning to this game for him and it was probably inevitable that it was going to happen, so really happy for him. He's had a tremendous season and coming down the stretch, we talk a lot about this team in this room, but to be able to achieve something as an individual that special is amazing."

Kucherov finished third in the NHL last season with 100 points (39 goals, 61 assists) behind McDavid (108) and forward Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers (102). Kucherov has scored at least 30 goals in each of the past four seasons and has increased his point total for five straight seasons.

The Lightning finished the regular season with 62 wins, tying the NHL single-season record set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. They won the Presidents' Trophy and will have home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We have confidence in the room," Kucherov said. "Coming into the playoffs, we want to make sure we finish on a good note, feel positive about our game, and move forward and see what's up."

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