On November 19th, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper decided to shuffle his lines. He paired a couple of forwards who were lighting it up, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, with Tyler Johnson. Prior to the change, Kucherov had 5 assists in his previous two games, Point had five goals in the same stretch. Looking at the eight games since this line has been rolled out regularly, it seems Cooper has found lightning in a bottle, pun intended. Kucherov’s two-game point streak has since extended to 10 games. During the streak, he’s had eight multi-point games. The only games in which he didn’t score two or more points came in Tampa’s only two losses in its last ten games.
Kucherov’s passing has been off the charts, leading the league in assists since paired with his new linemates and Brayden Point has been the primary beneficiary. He’s now on a point streak of his own, putting his name on the scoresheet in six straight games and nine of the last ten.
Kucherov and Point now both rank top 5 in points for the season with 42 and 37 respectively. Point is also tied for second in goals with 20 and would be first if not for Patrick Laine and his historic November performance. Tyler Johnson is the forgotten man on the line, but he’s still putting up good numbers, with four goals and five points since the line started playing together. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper praised the line after their win over the Devils, in which all three linemates found the back of the net. “The [Johnson-Point-Kucherov] line is playing well,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “They’re just always around it and doing all the right things. And then top it off with the skill and compete and all that, as a group they’re playing well and being rewarded for it.”