They played without physical center Jordan Staal, who missed the game because of a family concern — and his absence certainly was felt against Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and the rest of the Penguins’ lineup.
Kucherov had two assists to reach 80 points this season and Tampa Bay defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Thursday night.
Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman, Vladislav Namestnikov and Brayden Point scored for the Lightning (41-17-3), who leapfrogged expansion Vegas to regain the top spot in the overall standings with 85 points. Louis Domingue earned his third win by stopping 33 shots.
Kucherov, the NHL’s leading scorer, has 32 goals and 48 assists in 61 games.
Ryan Dzingel, Mark Borowiecki and Derick Brassard scored for the Senators (21-29-10), who are 0-2-1 in their last three games. Craig Anderson made 20 saves.
The loss snapped the Senators’ five-game winning streak on home ice. And with Monday afternoon’s trade deadline quickly approaching, Ottawa players are finding it difficult to stay focused.
“There’s definitely a little bit of anxiety in here,” Borowiecki said.
Green said that Simmons was an inspiration to the next generation of Australian kids coming up through the ranks.
“We do speak,” he said. “He helps me out and gives me some advice so that’s cool. He just tells me to play the game and enjoy it; have fun with everything.
“I think he’s really motivated everybody in Australia. It shows that there’s always chances no matter where you are in the world and you just need to make the most every opportunity you have.”
Before Green can entertain seriously the idea of joining Simmons at the next level, he must finish this season at IMG Academy in Florida and enter the college system. He has attracted the interest of many top schools, including Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Kansas, but he is yet to make a decision on which one he’ll attend next year.
“There’s been a lot of colleges, but most colleges have offered me [scholarships] and stayed in daily contact with me, so there’s nothing I can really pick out like that,” he said.