Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov expressed a desire during the offseason to continue to play on the same line after enjoying success together early last season. They were on the top line when the Lightning opened training camp Friday and were joined by forward Vladislav Namestnikov. The three quickly tried to pick up where they left off during a spirited practice. "I had a chance to play with [Kucherov] and [Namestnikov] at the beginning of last year and we had great chemistry," Stamkos said. "Things change from year to year, obviously. But we saw what Kucherov did last year and how great of a player he is. We had some great chemistry, so we'll see what happens." Stamkos and Kucherov have been the Lightning's most productive players over the past three seasons despite Stamkos missing significant time because of injuries. Kucherov has 99 goals and 216 points over that span, including his first 40-goal season in 2016-17, when he led the Lightning with 85 points and was tied for fifth in the NHL. Stamkos has 85 goals and 156 points over the same period; he had a Lightning-high 43 goals in 2014-15 and 36 in 2015-16. The line was a hit early last season before Stamkos, who is Lightning captain, had arthroscopic surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee on Nov. 17. Stamkos had nine goals and 20 points, and Kucherov had eight goals and 21 points through 17 games. They were two of the top 10 scorers in the NHL.
Stamkos, Kucherov look to be lethal combination again for Lightning
NHL.com | Sep 17