TAMPA — Others may have anointed the Lightning with a playoff spot, or even a conference title depending on who you’re talking to. And the team reached 90 points faster than any Tampa Bay team in history Thursday night. But the Lightning isn’t taking the foot off the gas.
“We still have a lot to prove in this room to ourselves and we’ll do that in the last 25 games or so,” Steven Stamkos said.
Tampa Bay reached 90 points as a team Thursday night with its 6-0 win against the Dallas Stars (in Game 58). Last year, the Lightning earned its 90thpoint in Game 65 against the Buffalo Sabres, which set the record at the time.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done it this early in the year, so that’s cool,” Stamkos said after the win. “But at the same time, I know it’s a boring answer, but we just want to keep winning. We want to keep accumulating points and give ourselves the best chance when that calendar flips to playoff hockey.”
Here are some odds and ends from Tampa Bay’s win:
Vasilevskiy ties franchise record with Bishop in the room. It only took the Lightning goaltender 190 games to do exactly what his predecessor had set before him in 227. Andrei Vasilevskiy tied Ben Bishop’s franchise record for career shutouts (17) with 32 saves in the Lightning’s win against the Stars Thursday night. And Ben Bishop was in the building to witness it all.
Kucherov reaches and surpasses 90 points. Nikita Kucherov became the fastest Lightning player to reach 90 points in franchise history Thursday night. In less than 10 minutes he logged three points, two assists and a goal just before the end of the first period. Oh, and he added a fourth point later with another assist.
Previously, Vincent Lecavlier and Martin St. Louis both scored the 90th point in the 69th game of the 2006-07 season.
After Thursday night’s win, Kucherov tied the Lightning record for the most consecutive points over three games (11 points with four goals and seven assists). The record was previously held by…you guessed it…Nikita Kucherov (Dec. 22-29).
Oh wait, we’re still talking about Kucherov? Yes. He became the first player in Lightning history to record at least three points in three-consecutive team games (four against Dallas, four against Calgary and three against Florida).
Stamkos continues to thrive in his glory days. Steven Stamkos was the only player to score two goals Thursday night, bookending the matchup from start to finish with two power play goals and of course they were both shot from the left faceoff circle. This is the 15th game where the Lightning have scored six or more points and the sixth time Stamkos has scored twice or more in a single game this season.
Go Johnny, go. Tyler Johnson scored his 20th goal this season for the fourth time in his career that he has reached that mark and has done this in back-to-back seasons. Johnson is also the fourth player on Tampa Bay’s roster to score at least 20 goals this season.
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The Lightning has eight players with 30 points or more. That’s 35 percent of the team vs 18 percent of the league with 30 points or more.