Every time Nikita Kucherov hits the ice, there's a chance he can do something magical.
Well, the magician was on full display at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night.
The Lightning's All-Star winger scored two goals and assisted on two more as Tampa Bay defeated the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3.
Fans didn't have to wait long to see Kuch do his thing.
Just 100 seconds into the game, he deftly deflected an Erik Cernak centering feed past Columbus goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
But he wasn't done there.
Just moments after ripping a one-timer that had ill intentions, the puck came back around to the Lightning superstar and he fired a shot-pass directly on the tape of Nick Paul, who re-directed it through the five-hole of Merzlikins for a 2-0 lead at 9:05.
That was Paul's 15th goal of the season in the Lightning's 39th game. The Tampa Bay forward had 16 goals in 80 games between his time with the Lightning & Ottawa Senators last season.
Kucherov's second goal of the night, and 16th of the season, came on the power play when he smoked a one-timer past Merzlikins at 6:33 of the 3rd.
His fourth point of the evening came on a Brayden Point power play goal just under six minutes later at 12:22.
Vladislav Namestnikov and Ross Colton also scored for Tampa Bay, Namestnikov scoring a beautiful goal on a breakaway going forehand-to-backhand at 10:25 of the 2nd. Colton closed the scoring for the Lightning with a tally at 13:48 of the 3rd.
Merzlikins saw 46 shots on the evening, making 40 stops.
Victor Hedman in his first game back since welcoming a baby boy, Viggo, to the family on Monday morning had two assists; as did the captain Steven Stamkos.
The Blue Jackets twice cut the Tampa Bay lead to one, with goals by Gavin Bayreuther at 7:04 of the 2nd to make it 2-1 and Tim Berni at 4:35 of the 3rd to make it 3-2, but the Lightning's firepower was just too much on this night.
Kirill Marchenko scored an unassisted goal with 3:26 remaining to cap the night's scoring, prompting Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy to break his stick on the Tampa Bay net. The visibly frustrated Vasy faced 24 shots, stopping 21.
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Cernak, Hagel) - 1:40
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Paul - (Kucherov, Hedman) - 9:05
- Columbus - Bayreuther - (Roslovic, Laine) - 7:04
- Tampa Bay - Namestnikov - (Bellemare) - 10:25
- Columbus - Berni - (Laine, Boqvist) - 4:35
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Kucherov (2) - (Hedman, Stamkos) - 6:33
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Point - (Kucherov, Stamkos) - 12:22
- Tampa Bay - Colton - (Maroon, Paul) - 13:48
- Columbus - Marchenko - (Unassisted) - 16:34
- Columbus - Bjork - (Hooking) - 7:40
- Columbus - Meyer - (Slashing) - 10:55
- Tampa Bay - Sergachev - (High Sticking) - 10:55
- Tampa Bay - Hedman - (Tripping) - 1:40
- Columbus - Berni - (Tripping) - 1:11
- Columbus - Merzlikins - (Delay of Game) - 6:22
- Columbus - Gaudreau - (Hooking) - 11:22
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning are back in action on Thursday night as they welcome the Vancouver Canucks to Amalie Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00pm.
PHOTO : Getty Images