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Lightning fans name first child after Nikita Kucherov

Couple chose name after Tampa Bay forward scored first goal in preseason game they attended

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

Hockey fans are a passionate group, but a Tampa-area couple is taking their fandom to a new level.

Eric and Laine Franklin had their first child Tuesday, an 8-pound, 11-ounce girl named Nikita, who was born at the Florida Hospital Tampa. The newborn is named after Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.

Eric and Laine are college sweethearts and huge Lightning fans. Laine told Eric she was pregnant at a Lightning preseason game, and Eric suggested the couple name the child after whichever Tampa Bay player scored first in the game.

Kucherov scored 12:29 into a 4-1 Lightning win against the Florida Panthers on Sept. 25, and when Laine gave birth Tuesday morning, they went through with naming their girl after the Russian-born forward.

A hospital spokesperson said the Franklins were happy they gave birth on a Lightning game day. Tampa Bay leads the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Final. Game 6 of the best-of-7 series is at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). 

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