Bolts are road warriors once again in victory

by Gary Shelton on June 18, 2021

in general

Point is playing well for the Bolts again./CHUCK MULLER

Friday. 4 a.m.

By now, they have won enough, and along the way, the Tampa Bay Lightning have shown the world who they are.

And so, if you're paying attention, there a few universal trusts about this team:

-- They aren't afraid of hotel rooms. The Bolts ran their road record to 6-1 Thursday night with a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup playoff semifinals.

-- If it's the post-season, Brayden Point is worth keeping an eye on. Point

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could have won the Con Smythe Award as the playoff MVP last year but lost out to teammate Victor Hedman. This year, he's been even better. Over the past two post-seasons, he has 25 goals in 37 games.

-- If the Lightning have a lead in the third period, the game is over. The Bolts are 8-1 with a third-period lead this post season, and they were 26-0 during the regular season. When the opposition is behind in the third period, it might as well be skating on quicksand.

It was all present Thursday night as the Lightning beat the Isles again. New York has now scored five goals in three games. Consider this: In Game Three, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots. The Lighting defense blocked 21 others.

"We’ve got some depth," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of his team's ability to win. "When we break down, we’ve got a goaltender who will make a save for us. They’ve found a recipe. It took us some time. There's ups and downs. There is a true belief of what needs to be done.

Captain Steven Stamkos agreed.

“It’s everyone buying into the system," Stamkos said. "We know what our job is. We know what we have to do. We’ve done it time and time again. This group is comfortable in these situations. It’s guys doing whatever it takes to win.

"We constantly lean on that experience. The more games you play like this ... this group knows to flip that switch when the time comes."

For all of the defense, the Bolts had trouble scoring. Point scored the winning goal -- again -- when he scored late in the second period while being hit from behind.

Not bad for an afterthought in the draft, huh? In 2014, Point was the 79th player taken in the NHL draft. Even the Bolts picked defensemen Tony DeAngelo and Johnathan MacLeod ahead of him. No one saw him coming.

It was Point's 11th goal in 14 games this post-season. Last year, he scored 14 in 23 games.

"The puck just took a good bounce and landed right on my stick," Point said of his goal. "So it’s a lucky one."

The Bolts will try for another win Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. The puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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