Brayden Point scored twice, including weaving through four defenders for an unassisted goal, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1.
Point, the veteran Bolts forward, set a torrid pace that the entire team followed throughout. Andrei Vasilevskiy dominated the crease with 25 saves, holding Montreal at bay most of the night.
The dominant victory came after a long Christmas break where coach Jon Cooper gave the team extra time off to rest. The strategy followed a less than stellar two-game losing streak before the holiday and paid dividends.
The Lightning came out strong and never relented. Alex Killorn started the scoring early, netting the opening goal less than two minutes into the game.
Point Electrifies with Brilliance
Brayden Point took charge of the game late in the first period when he scored on the lone power play of the night. Aided by assists from Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev, Point took a pass in the slot and drove it past Montreal netminder Jake Allen.
He wasn’t done, however, and saved the magic for his second goal of the night.
At the 16:09 mark of the second, Point took his own pass through four Montreal players, sending a blazing wrist shot to the back of the Canadien net. The dazzling shot brought the Amalie Arena crowd to their feet, stunning the Montreal bench.
You’ve GOT to be kidding me pic.twitter.com/1oUl8XjGn7
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) December 29, 2022
“I made a bad pass,” Point remarked. “I just tried to get it back. It was a fortunate bounce for me to get that one back.”
“Then, I just tried to go around and get a shot.”
Lightning Coach Jon Cooper heaped even more praise on Point’s effort.
“It was brilliant,” Cooper stated. “He’s a difference maker, and difference makers do things like that.”
Vasilevskiy Shines in Goal
Those who have recently doubted Andrei Vasilevskiy’s ability to control the defensive tempo were quieted quickly. In addition to keeping the puck out of the net, Vasilevskiy controlled play with his aggressive style of lateral movement and finesse.
As a result, the Montreal offense found themselves on the short end of many scoring chances. Despite five power play attempts, Vasilevskiy held the Canadiens scoreless until late in the contest.
Hedman Leads a Tough Defensive Effort
In addition, Victor Hedman led the defense that had struggled recently in keeping goals out of the Lightning net. Hedman accounted for two assists and a key block.
The additional rest over the holiday seemed to do the team good. As a result, the team responded with a strong performance. Erik Cernak recorded four hits and Zach Bogosian picked up his first point of the season.
Three Stars of the Game
Brayden Point. Without a doubt, Point was the spark that set off the Lightning fireworks show tonight. Furthermore, his spectacular second period goal will be a contender for NHL Goal of the Year.
Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning goalie stopped 25 shots with relative ease and made some very key blocks throughout the contest. Therefore, he continues to elevate his game as the season hits the new year.
Victor Hedman. Two assists, two shots on goal, and a +3 for the defenseman. Moreover, his veteran leadership motivated a well-rested defense.
The New York Rangers come into town Thursday night at Amalie Arena. Game starts at 7pm.
Follow our coverage of the Tampa Bay Lightning all season long at The Scrum Sports.
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