We can say it officially now: the Tampa Bay Lightning have had a record regular season.
As of approximately 4:00pm on April 6th, 2019, the Tampa Bay Lightning tied the regular season record for most wins. They did so by beating the Boston Bruins 6 to 3 in the final game of the season. This caps off a historic season of ice hockey for the Lightning. They finished the season off with 62 wins and just 16 total losses. They lost in overtime only 4 times. The record ties with the 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings who would go on to lose in the Western Conference Finals, and ultimately not win a Stanley Cup until the next year.
Team leader Nikita Kucherov also broke a record this season. He snapped Joe Thornton’s 13 year old record for most points in a single season. Thornton’s record comes in the “post-salary cap” era of hockey that has reset certain critical records. Kucherov buried his 40th goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs this past Thursday into an empty net. That was his 126th point, breaking down to 40 goals, 86 assists. To fully stake his claim, he collapsed the all-time points record in the final game against the Bruins. The all-time record, including pre salary-cap, belonged to Alexander Mogilny, another Russian. He scored 127 points in the 1992-1993 season. Kucherov finished with 128.
Now, onto the playoffs and all eyes are on the Bolts.
As I’ve mentioned before, the odds are against the Lightning taking it all the way to the Lord Stanley’s Cup. Most teams that dominate the regular season run out of gas in the playoffs, collapsing before the final is decided. The real test of success will be if Tampa Bay can seal the deal. This is reminiscent of perfect seasons in other sports. It is nearly impossible to win at such a rate in ice hockey and has been a miracle to watch. Nothing is certain except that the hockey world will be glued to their screens and seats to see if they can pull it off.