ST PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Lightning are captained by one of the NHL’s most captivating stars in Steven Stamkos.
However, Stamkos isn’t on the first line, and he doesn’t hold the team lead for playoff points. Instead it’s the team’s ‘triplets’ line that has sparked the remarkable Lightning championship run.
The dangerous line consists of Nikita Kuchoerov, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson. The trio has scored 55 points for the Lightning this postseason, 21 of which have come on the power play.
During the team’s opening round match-up against Detroit, Johnson alone scored six goals, and Palat and Kucherov added seven additional points. The contributions came at an integral time for the team, as Stamkos, the team leader in goals for the regular season, was held without a goal for the entire series.
A lot of the triplets success needs to be attributed to coach Jon Cooper, who made a daring decision to put the trio together. “They sort of have that perfect mix of speed and skill, ” Cooper said. “And it’s weird because they all seem to be on the same wavelength; it’s like they’re triplets,”
The New York Rangers were given a heavy dose of the triplets during their seven-game Eastern Conference Finals series. Defenseman Dan Boyle, believes the line is a throwback to hockey of years ago.
“Standing still against those guys will get you in trouble,” Boyle stated to ESPN.com. “They play the game the way the game was played 10 years ago. They make plays a little bit more than what we’re seeing today, and they way the game is played today.”
The 2015-16 Tampa Bay Lightning might be one of the more prolific scoring teams in recent memory. Thanks to the ‘triplets’ have had a major impact on the team, they will be relied on heavily for years to come.