Lightning's Nikita Kucherov Joins Elite NHL Company After Recording 100th Assist of Season

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov
Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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Nikita Kucherov had one last chance to break the triple-digit mark for assists when the Tampa Bay Lightning took the ice for their final game of the 2023-24 regular season on Wednesday, a home tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With Auston Matthews also chasing a milestone on the other end, it was Kucherov who landed in the history books first, logging his 100th assist of the season on a pass to Brayden Point while on a Lightning power play.

Kucherov becomes just the fifth player in league history to record 100 assists in a single season, and the second player to do so this week after Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid achieved the feat on Monday.

Kucherov and McDavid join the company of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr as the only players in league history to notch 100 assists in one campaign.

With a goal to go along with his assist, Kucherov's two-point performance on Wednesday brought his season points tally to a career high of 144, surpassing his previous best of 128. His 44 goals in 2023–24 were the most of his career, and his 100 assists outdid his previous season-high of 87.

Barring some truly incredible performances from McDavid and Colorado Avalanche star MacKinnon during the final few days of the season, Kucherov figures to end the campaign as the league's leader in points, which would mark the second time he's done so in his career.


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Karl Rasmussen

KARL RASMUSSEN

Karl Rasmussen is a writer on Sports Illustrated’s Breaking & Trending News Team. A University of Oregon alum, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. He’s a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.