Brayden Point’s second goal of the night was the game-winner in the third period as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the visiting Nashville Predators 5-2 on Thursday night.
On a two-on-one break with the game knotted at 2, Point moved in from the left, kept the puck and beat Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros (27 saves) on the blocker side for his 13th goal at 2:14.
The result was the 450th career win for Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper, who reached the mark faster than any coach in NHL history. The 11th-year bench boss needed 741 games, one fewer than current Vancouver Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau.
Point produced his fourth two-goal showing of the season. Corey Perry, Nicholas Paul and Brandon Hagel also hit the net for the Lightning, who won for the sixth time in their past eight home games and played before their 300th consecutive sellout crowd.
Steven Stamkos handed out two assists, giving him a season-high 12-game point streak and breaking a tie with Nikita Kucherov for the club’s longest this campaign. Backup goalie Brian Elliott denied 34 shots and had an assist.
Nashville’s Mark Jankowski and Alexandre Carrier potted goals, but the Predators had their three-game winning streak snapped.
After Tampa Bay’s 4-2 home loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, Cooper shuffled the lines, and the home side made an impression with two goals in less than three minutes of play against Nashville.
Playing on a line with Anthony Cirelli and Hagel, Point beat Saros on a breakaway following a long lob from Ian Cole just 76 seconds in. On the game’s first power play, Perry — a pesky net-front presence on the top unit — netted at 2:53 on assists from Stamkos and Victor Hedman.
The Predators, who hadn’t played since a 4-1 road win over the New York Islanders on Friday, had a tough time penetrating Tampa Bay’s rear guard, failing to produce a shot on goal until Jankowski scored short-handed — the team’s first this season — at 10:51 of the first period.
In the second, Carrier — without a goal or point through 21 games this season — found his own rebound and tied the game at 12:36. Filip Forsberg and Nino Niederreiter collected assists on the play.
After Point’s second goal in the third, Paul recorded his 12th at 7:10 and Hagel had his eighth — short-handed — at 15:40 to put the game away.
–Field Level Media