TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy may have won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player. But it was the Lightning’s leading scorer, Nikita Kucherov who was the MVP of the postgame news conference.
Shirtless and chugging a beer, Kucherov, normally humble and quiet, transforms into “Party Kuch” on championship occasions.
“I don’t know what to say,” Kucherov said “Back-to-back. I couldn’t sleep for three nights. To be able to win this game was huge.”
Kucherov pointed out that Vasilevksiy came up huge, stopping all 22 Montreal Canadiens’ shots.
“Vasy was outstanding,” Kucherov said. “MVP. I was telling him every day, ‘Vasy you’re MVP. You’re the best player.’ Then they gave the Vezina (Trophy) whatever to the guy in Vegas. Then last year they gave the Vezina to someone else.”
Vasy gave the Bolts the game five win with his fifth shut out of this postseason. Kucherov was grateful they didn’t have to go back to Montreal for game six.
“I’m so happy,” Kucherov said. “I didn’t want to go back to Montreal. The fans in Montreal, come on, they acted like they won the Stanley cup last game. You kidding me?”
By this time of the interview, a staff member brought Kucherov more to drink.
“That’s a Bud Light, not a champagne,” he said.
Kucherov got serious when sharing this moment with his longtime teammates.
“I’ve been in love with those guys. We’ve had ups and downs. I said one time, you give us one time to win we’re going to win twice,” Kucherov said.
He finished with eight goals and 24 assists this postseason. There’s a good chance we’ll see “Party Kuch” again at the boat parade.