Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each scored to reach career milestones as the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning matched an NHL record with their 62nd victory, 6-3 over the Boston Bruins on the final day of the regular season Saturday.
The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning (62-16-4, 128 points) equaled the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings’ mark for single-season wins. They also posted the fourth-most points ever in a season and became the second team in league history to win 30 road games.
While the Lightning rested key performers Brayden Point and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, Stamkos posted his 45th goal for a career-high 98th point and Kucherov scored his personal-best 41st goal as the visitors scored four straight to erase a 2-0 deficit. Kucherov, who added an assist, finished with an NHL-leading 128 regular-season points — the most by a Russian-born player in the league.
The Bruins (49-24-9, 107 points), who will face Toronto in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, rested stars Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
However, Boston opened the scoring with a little less than five minutes left in the first period as David Krejci banged the puck past Tampa Bay’s Edward Pasquale (30 saves). Then with 20 seconds left in the first, Danton Heinen ended a five-game point drought by snapping a wrister from the right circle to give Boston a 2-0 lead.
Tampa Bay cut the deficit in half at 4:41 into the second. On the power play, rookie defenseman Erik Cernak delivered a shot from the high slot past Boston’s Tuukka Rask (16 saves). Stamkos then broke free and back-handed home his second short-handed goal in as many games at 12:52 in the second. The Lightning took the lead when Anthony Cirelli scored at 16:59 of the period for his fourth goal against the Bruins this season.
Kucherov came through with his record-setter just 53 seconds into the third to make it 4-2. Boston got within one at 14:03 in the final period on a goal by Matt Grzelcyk, but Braydon Coburn gave Tampa Bay back its two-goal advantage 13 seconds later.
Tyler Johnson added a late empty-netter for the Lightning, on an assist from Kucherov.