Nikita Kucherov Wins The Art Ross Trophy After Stellar 128 Point Season

Tampa Bay Lightning Nikita Kucherov

(via NHL Communications) - The 2018-19 National Hockey League regular season concluded with Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov capturing his first career Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring champion, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin claiming his eighth career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader, and the New York Islanders’ tandem of Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss winning their first career William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders who play at least 25 games for the team allowing the fewest goals.

Kucherov registered a League-high 128 points (41-87—128 in 82 GP) – the most by any NHL player since 1995-96 – to finish the season ahead of Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (41-75—116 in 78 GP) and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (44-66—110 in 81 GP) for his first career Art Ross Trophy. Kucherov, who also led the NHL in power-play scoring (15-33—48), collected at least one point in 62 of 82 appearances (75.6%). That included a League-best 38 multi-point games, highlighted by eight outings of four-plus points (also tops in the NHL). Kucherov, who set franchise records for assists and points in one season, became the second Lightning player to claim the Art Ross Trophy, following wins by Martin St. Louis in 2003‑04 and 2012-13. The 25-year-old Maykop native also became the third Russian-born player to capture the award, joining Ovechkin (2007-08) and Evgeni Malkin (2008-09 and 2011-12), and broke Alexander Mogilny’s single-season NHL record for points by a Russian-born player (76-51—127 in 1992-93 w/ BUF).

Ovechkin scored a League-leading 51 goals in 81 games, finishing ahead of Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (50 in 82 GP) and Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (47 in 82 GP) for his second straight and eighth overall Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Ovechkin became the first player in NHL history to top the League in goals eight times, breaking a tie with Bobby Hull (7x). He did so by reaching the 50-goal milestone for the eighth time, behind only Mike Bossy (9) and Wayne Gretzky (9) for the most such seasons in League history. At 33 years, 194 days, when he hit the mark on March 30, Ovechkin also became the fourth-oldest player to record a 50‑goal campaign, trailing Johnny Bucyk (35 years, 308 days), Jaromir Jagr (34 years, 37 days) and Hull (33 years, 90 days). Ovechkin’s 51 tallies vaulted him into 13th place on the League’s all-time goals list; the Moscow, Russia, native’s career total of 658 is 212 higher than any other player since he entered the NHL in 2005-06.

Lehner (25-13-5, 2.13 GAA, .930 SV%, 6 SO) and Greiss (23-14-2, 2.28 GAA, .927 SV%, 5 SO) posted nearly identical numbers for an Islanders team that allowed a League-low 196 goals, six fewer than the Dallas Stars (202). The duo combined to give New York its second William M. Jennings Trophy, adding to a 1982-83 victory by Roland Melanson and Billy Smith en route to capturing the franchise’s fourth straight Stanley Cup. Lehner and Greiss both finished the season among the top five netminders in goals-against average and save percentage. That helped the Islanders, who gave up 296 goals in 2017-18, become the second team in NHL history to allow the fewest goals immediately following the season in which it yielded the most. The original Ottawa Senators first accomplished that feat in 1918-19, the second season in League history (when there were only three teams).

Photo Courtesy Of Getty Images

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