Watch: Kucherov's hat trick leads Lightning over beleaguered Bruins
Jared Silber / National Hockey League / Getty

Nikita Kucherov took some shine away from Boston's Brad Marchand in a head-to-head matchup of Hart Trophy dark horses Thursday night.

Recording his second hat trick in less month in the next most important game of the season for Tampa Bay, Kucherov cemented his place as the next trendy MVP candidate, lifting the Lightning to within three points of the Bruins for the final wild-card slot in the Eastern Conference in a 6-3 win.

Kucherov now has an NHL-best 27 points over the last 15 games, contributing 16 goals and 11 assists over that span.

The Bolts still have a deficit to overcome to slide into the eighth seed, but do own a game in hand on the Bruins, who are suddenly reeling after four straight losses.

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Watch: Kucherov's hat trick leads Lightning over beleaguered Bruins
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