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NHL Awards

Kucherov honored to be in elite company with Hart winners

Lightning forward also takes home Lindsay, Ross at NHL Awards

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Nikita Kucherov thought of the recent winners of the Hart Trophy, an elite fraternity the Tampa Bay Lightning right wing joined Wednesday.

Kucherov, in his typical understated style, revealed what that means to him following the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone.

"Taylor Hall, [Connor] McDavid, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, [Alex Ovechkin]," Kucherov said. "You look at all those names and now you see your name there, it's definitely special for me and my family."

 

[RELATED: Kucherov of Lightning wins Hart Trophy | Complete NHL Awards coverage]

 

Kucherov joined Martin St. Louis (2003-04) as the only Lightning players to win the Hart Trophy. He became the fourth Russia-born player to win it, joining Ovechkin, who has won it three times (2007-08, 2008-09, 2012-13), Evgeni Malkin (2011-12) and Sergei Fedorov (1993-94). 

He received 164 of 171 first-place votes and finished with 1,677 voting points. Crosby finished second with 739 voting points and McDavid was third with 465 points.

Kucherov also took home the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player as voted on by fellow members of the NHL Players' Association. He also received the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in scoring with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists).

Video: Trebek presents Kucherov the Hart Memorial Trophy

In addition, he was voted onto the 2018-19 NHL First-All-Star Team as the right wing. Kucherov received 167 of 168 first-place votes, the most of all six of the First-Team All-Stars.

"It's a huge night for me and my family," Kucherov said. "Thanks to my teammates, my coaches, all the trainers, everybody involved in the team. Thanks to them for helping me get here. Without them, without all the work we've done together, I wouldn't be here. A big part of this success just goes to all of them. Thanks to my boys and I'm looking forward to next year."

Kucherov's 128 points were the most by any player in the NHL since 1995-96, when Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Mario Lemieux (161) and Jaromir Jagr (149) each had more. He set the Lightning record for assists and points in a season and broke Alexander Mogilny's 26-year record for most points by a Russia-born player. Mogilny scored 127 points (76 goals, 51 assists) in the 1992-93 season.

Kucherov scored 28 more points than he did last season, when he hit the century mark for the first time.

"You just try not to think too much about it because if you think too much your game can just go away from you and bad things can happen," Kucherov said. "I was just trying to stay calm. All my thoughts were about winning games for the team, help the team to get more points, not just myself. If I'm going to bring my 'A' game every night, we have a good chance to win the game and I want to think about that. I want to help the team first."

Video: Nikita Kucherov wins the Ted Lindsay Award

To that end, Kucherov kept bringing the conversation in his post-show media scrum back to the trophy he wasn't taking home from the Awards show.

"It sounds great [to be the League's most valuable player], obviously, but the main thing is Stanley Cup," he said. "All these individual [awards] are really nice, but the main thing is Stanley Cup for me."

The Lightning were swept in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Columbus Blue Jackets after winning the Presidents' Trophy for the first time and tying the NHL regular-season record with 62 wins, previously held solo by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings.

Kucherov struggled in the series and finished with two points, both assists, in three games. He was suspended for Game 3 for boarding Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivarra in Game 2.

"To me it doesn't matter how many points I get, the whole thing is about the Stanley Cup," Kucherov said. "That's why you play the game. You want to win. You want to compete against the best players. It doesn't matter about the individual stuff."

Kucherov said his job now is to put the work in for next season to come back in shape and ready to be even better than he was this season even if that means putting up less points. He listed a single goal for himself too.

"Take the lead," Kucherov said. "Everybody on the team has got to step up, myself included. That's what we're going to work on in the summer and bounce back next year."

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