TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Overtime has become Brayden Point’s time to shine.
The Tampa Bay center scored his fourth overtime goal of the season on Tuesday to give the league-leading Lightning a 5-4 victory over in-state rival Florida.
Point also has four game-deciding shootout goals.
“You’ve got to be out there and coaches trust me with that,” said Point, who has 10 game-winning goals on the season, two shy of the franchise record. “It’s a privilege to play overtime. We’re just trying to work hard, and guys are finding me. It’s not only myself, but our team’s been playing well in overtime.”
Tampa Bay reached overtime for the sixth consecutive game, one shy of tying the NHL record set by Edmonton in 2004 and Toronto in 2009, according Elias Sports Bureau. The Lightning have a 5-0-1 record in that span.
Yanni Gourde finished with two goals and three points for the Lightning, who improved to 7-0-1 in the past eight games.
Nick Bjugstad recorded his first career hat trick and Aleksander Barkov had three assists. The Panthers had their six-game winning streak end but have recorded points in seven consecutive games. Florida trails Columbus by two points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with three games in hand.
“Since I’ve been here that’s the best game I’ve seen Nick play,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said. “We needed a performance like that and down the stretch here we are going to need different guys step up . and tonight he was that guy.”
Florida erased deficits of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 to rally and earn a valuable point in the standings.
“We showed extreme heart and courage playing the way we did in the third,” Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. We didn’t get the two points but forced overtime. We’ve gotten a point in the last (seven) games so there’s a lot of positives and good to take away from it.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay assigned G Peter Budaj to Syracuse of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment. Budaj has not played since suffering a lower-body injury on Dec. 29. … Lightning D Ryan McDonagh, acquired from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline, is expected to miss another week with an undisclosed upper-body injury. … Florida placed forward Frank Vatrano, acquired from Boston at the trade deadline, on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. … Tampa Bay LW Ondrej Palat (lower body) joined the team for practice on Tuesday for the first time since Jan. 20, but his return to the lineup is still undetermined. … The teams combined for 39 goals in the four meetings this season. . Florida C Aleksander Barkov extended his scoring streak to seven games, with five goals and eight points during that span.
Lightning: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Panthers: Host Montreal on Thursday.