Point scores two more as Lightning win

by Gary Shelton on March 29, 2023

in general

Point is closing in on 50 goals./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Maybe Brayden Point just doesn't like hats. Some people don't.

Point, careening toward 50 goals (he's three short) led the Tampa Bay Lightning to an impressive, skid-ending 4-0 victory over a very good Carolina team Tuesday night.

For the 10th time this season, Point had two goals in a game. Yet, he has no hat tricks.

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Vasilevskiy got his 31st shutout./TIM WIRT

That really isn't that unusual. In the history of the NHL, 25 players have scored 50 or more goals without a hat trick in that season -- three of those seasons were by Phil Esposito, the Lighting founder.

Point hasn't had a hat trick since 2018, when he did it against Pittsburgh. He had a shot late with the net empty but instead passed to an open Alex Killorn for the cinching goal.

For the Bolts, Point was just one of the stars who helped end the darkness Tuesday night.

-- Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots to earn his third shutout of the season, the 31st of his career. Vasilevskiy hasn't been as shining as usual -- he has 20 losses to go with his 32 wins -- but Tuesday showed he can still smother a good opponent.

-- Steven Stamkos had three points, including his 31st goal of the season.

-- Nikita Kucherov had two more assists, giving him 76 on the season. Kucherov has 104 points on the season.

The Bolts had lost 6-0 to Carolina on March 5.

“It definitely turned the tables from the last time we were here," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "They’re a really good team. We’ve played the best two teams in the east in the last couple of days here. We didn’t get any points from the Boston game, but I thought we took some steps forward. The guys got rewarded tonight for how they played."

The Bolts play Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Washington.

Stamkos has 31 goals/TIM WIRT

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