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Kucherov on board quickly in callup from AHL.
26 ноября 2013 года.Smith, Joe. Tampa Bay Times

As well as LW Nikita Kucherov was playing for AHL Syracuse, he was still surprised Sunday when he got called up by the Lightning.

"It's like a dream come true," Kucherov said. "They said, 'You got called up,' and I said, 'What?' I was nervous. 'Are you sure?' "

Coach Jon Cooper said it wasn't ideal to bring Kucherov in after just 17 professional games but said the 20-year-old Russian "earned his stripes a little quicker" and deserved a chance. Plus, the Lightning needed offensive punch without C Steven Stamkos (broken leg) and RW Ryan Malone (lower body). And Kucherov, who led the Crunch with 13 goals and 24 points, brings a unique scoring dynamic.

That showed Monday when Kucherov scored his first NHL goal on the first shot of his first shift, a one-timer from the slot.

"I was in the right spot at the right time," said Kucherov, who finished plus-two in 11 minutes, 31 seconds of ice time. "I was so excited. I can't describe it."

Cooper said, knowing Kucherov's skill, "that won't be the last goal that kid scores in the NHL."

"He's one of these guys that has that uncanny ability to put the puck in the net," Cooper said. "It's like the Brett Hulls, they know where to go on the ice, and they know what to do with the puck."

Kucherov, 5 feet 11, 178 pounds, was a second-round pick in 2011. Crunch GM Julien BriseBois said Kucherov had some of the best vision he has ever seen.

Cooper said it's uncertain how long Kucherov will stay, but "the kid can play."

"He's kind of turned the corner a little quicker than most guys," Cooper said. "The game slows down for him and just in this short time I've been around him, you could see the hockey IQ is pretty high."

Perfect timing: Rangers C Brad Richards said he was "thrilled" it worked out where he could be there for a pregame ceremony to honor former Lightning teammate Marty St. Louis for 1,000th career games.

Richards helped give a framed timeline to St. Louis, who also received a silver stick, a Rolex and a leather-bound scrapbook.

And Richards wasn't surprised St. Louis had two goals and an assist on his special night.

"That's one of the best, for the last 10-12 years, one of the best players in the world," Richards said. "That's exactly what he does right there. He uses his speed and he'll make you pay."

Welcome back: Rangers C Dominic Moore, a key part of the Lightning's 2011 run to the East final, also returned Monday.

Moore, with Tampa Bay from 2010-12, took last season off after his wife, Katie, died of liver cancer in January. But Moore said he has received a lot of support from his former teammates: "Katie and I had great memories of being part of this organization and the group we had. That's part of the reason why Tampa is a special place."

Nuts and bolts:D Radko Gudas (upper body) and Malone didn't play. ... D Dmitry Korobov was also scratched. ... LW P.C. Labrie left after suffering an upper-body injury in a first-period fight with RW Derek Dorsett, but Cooper said it wasn't serious.

Страничка Никиты Кучерова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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