1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning ties NHL wins record with No. 62

Tampa Bay matches the mark set by the Detroit Red Wings in the final game of the regular season.
The Lightning's Cameron Gaunce (33) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Boston Bruins Saturday in Boston. [AP Photo/Michael Dwyer]
Published Apr. 6
Updated Apr. 7

BOSTON — Sixty-two wins was not the goal Saturday afternoon. That much was clear as soon as the Lightning emerged for warmups without Andrei Vasilevskiy in the lead.

Not that it mattered. Players repeatedly said the NHL wins record would come in the course of play. That’s what happened as the Lightning earned win No. 62.

Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos capped their own record-setting regular seasons with two more milestones and were among six Lightning players to score goals in a 6-3 win over Boston.

Tampa Bay rallied from a 2-0 first period deficit to match the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings’ NHL record of 62 wins.

“We didn’t sit there are circle 62 as our number to hit,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “But it is kinda cool that we actually got to that number.”

The Lightning scored four unanswered goals, the first coming on Erik Černák’s beautiful wrist shot from the slot to put the Lightning on the board early in the second period.

Stamkos won another faceoff on a penalty kill, igniting a shorthanded breakaway goal that he backhanded past Tuukka Rask to tie it and tally his 98th point, a new single-season career high.

Anthony Cirelli gave the Lightning the lead late in the second, with a shot from the top of the left circle that deflected off Bruins forward Danton Heinen’s stick to beat Rask. The goal was reviewed but officials determined Alex Killorn’s brief contact with Rask didn’t constitute goaltender interference.

Kucherov capped his NHL scoring title with a goal and an assist, finishing with 126 points and surpassing Alexander Mogilny’s mark for most points in an NHL season by a Russian player.

A minute into the third period, Kucherov scored what would be the decisive goal when he slid a casual-looking backhand past Rask for a beautiful finish that set off a wild celebration on the Lightning bench.

Kucherov assisted on Tyler Johnson’s empty-netter in the game’s final minute, something he called “a special moment.”

The Lightning sat four players (including Brayden Point) and rested Vasilevskiy. But not much has been able to slow down this team.

In the end, the Stanley Cup matters most, but the Lightning has been on a truly historic road to get to the playoffs.

Montreal of the 1970s dominates the conversation when it comes to the NHL’s best team ever. The 1976-77 Canadiens had 60 wins and would have had even more with the benefit of overtime. The Canadiens also didn’t have a salary cap. Those differences are what makes sports fun and GOATs debates.

There’s no argument that the Lightning is the best team in the last 20 years. Or that Kucherov had the most impressive season of last 20 years.

In just about every category Tampa Bay is the best or has the most since (fill in the blank). Those blanks are more than 20 years ago and many of them feature a team with Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky.

They can add them to the ones they’ve already set this year, highlighted by Kucherov’s franchise single-season points record and Stamkos’ franchise career goal record.

At one point, Stamkos commented every game seemed to mark the Lightning being the fastest to this or the first to that. It’s been just that kind of season.

It’s over now, though.

Cooper called the step between games 82 and 83 a leap. Now it’s time for the Lightning to go after that ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.


  1. 2 hours ago• Sports
    Jameis Winston (3) points to fans after the Bucs' 2017 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Saints, justice for the Astros, answers for the Lightning.
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) celebrates his goal, the first of the game, along with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) and center Tyler Johnson (9) beating New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) during first period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Tampa. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Lightning 9, Rangers 3: Tampa Bay posts its highest-scoring game of the last two seasons.
  3. Pictured from the center ice display, LT Robert McClintock, 101 years old, from the US Army Air Corps (Ret.), performs the National Anthem along with USAF Technical Sergeant (Ret.) Sonya Bryson (not pictured) before the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the New York Rangers on Military Appreciation Night at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Tampa.  DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Lightning brought back Robert McClintock to join Sonja Bryson, also a veteran, for Military Appreciation Night
  4. The Lightning return to home ice and dominate the Rangers
  5. The Lightning's Victor Hedman (77). Alex Killorn (17) and Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrate after an NHL hockey game against the Sabres in Globen Arena, Stockholm last week. ANDERS WIKLUND/TT  |  AP
    Tampa Bay’s schedule returns to a more normal pace tonight when it takes on the young, gritty Rangers.
  6. In this March 24, 2010, file photo, hockey personality Don Cherry, right, speaks during a news conference as actor Jared Keeso is displayed on a video screen while playing Cherry in the bio film "Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story" in Toronto. Sportsnet cut ties with Cherry on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, after the veteran hockey commentator called new immigrants "you people" on his "Coach's Corner" segment while claiming they do not wear poppies to honor Canadian veterans. DARREN CALABRESE  |  AP
    Cherry has not apologized for his remarks.
  7. The Stockholm City Library turned out to be the perfect place to get engaged. SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
    Stockholm City Library has a beautiful round hall that turned out to be the perfect place to get engaged
  8. Patrick Maroon of Tampa Bay Lightning against Buffalo on Nov. 9 in Stockholm. JONAS LJUNGDAHL  |  Bildbyran via ZUMA Press
    The team got practice, a reset and bonding from the week in Stockholm.
  9. Members of the Tampa Bay Lightning look on during the 2019 NHL Global Series Sweden, at the Ericsson Globe on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. DAVE SANDFORD/NHLI  |  TNS
    Plus, a challenge to the NHL Challenge system, Tyler Johnson’s Sweden highlights and a Jon Cooper question. | Diana C. Nearhos
  10. A full-color model of the Vasa sits in front of the 391-year-old reconstructed Swedish warship at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. DIANA NEARHOS  |  TIMES
    Swedish travels continue with two of the most popular attractions in Stockholm.