The Tampa Bay Lightning may be out of the current playoff picture but that doesn’t mean they have to play boring hockey. After Steven Stamkos went down with an injury earlier in the year, they’ve coasted a bit.

Slowly but surely, the Lightning have been climbing the Atlantic division standings and a lot of the credit goes to Nikita Kucherov. The name may not sound familiar to some. He is third or fourth fiddle on an otherwise stacked team.

As the injuries began to pile up though, Kucherov decided to take some of the spotlight for himself. Even scoring a hat trick within this past week.

Now he is trying to embarrass the entire Eastern Conference with his shoot out moves. If anyone could do it, it may very well be him.

I’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw off the ground. It takes a couple of replays before you get what he did here. He let the puck go and played an imaginary puck as if he still had it on his stick. It is both genius and incredibly courageous. Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Robin Lehner never had a chance.

The game is on his stick and he wins the game with a goal here. Somehow he pulls that out of his bag of tricks. It’s either arrogant or outstanding. Either way the league needs more of it.

The NHL has tried multiple ways to make overtime exciting first with the shoot out and now 3v3. The real answer may end up being showing off player creativity and not stifling it. In an ultra conservative league, you won’t see many of these moves, cherish them while you can.

About Sam Blazer

Sam is a self proclaimed chess prodigy. He once placed seventh in the state of Ohio in Chess when he was in kindergarten. He will rarely if ever mention though that only eight people were entered in this tournament. Contact him at