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Burns: 3 things from another overtime win

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 5-4 win vs. Florida

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

It's becoming a bit of a theme of late for the Tampa Bay Lightning

Hold a lead in the third period, watch it dissolve, go to overtime/a shootout and wait for Brayden Point to win the game.

The formula has proven to be successful, the Lightning going to overtime for the sixth-consecutive game (one shy of the NHL record of seven straight set by Edmonton in 2004 and Toronto in 2009 according to the Elias Sports Bureau) and coming out victorious in five.

But it's not sustainable.

Tampa Bay has to learn how to finish games if it wants to make a deep postseason run.

Florida rallied from a 4-2 deficit to start the third period and had the game tied by period's first TV timeout on Tuesday. The Lightning played some of their best hockey of the game over the final half of the third, and Point continued to do what he does best, providing the timely goal at a critical moment to lift the Lightning to a 5-4 overtime victory, the Bolts extending their point streak to seven games.

Tampa Bay prevailed in a potential first round playoff preview over Florida, but the Lightning will have mixed feelings about their win.

We'll break down why in Three Things we learned from another overtime win.

Video: Gourde | Postgame TBL 5, FLA 4 OT

1. SQUASHING ROOKIE RECORDS
Tampa Bay rookie Yanni Gourde continues to amaze during his incredible rookie season.

The 26 year old netted two goals against Florida and added an assist to tie a career high for single game scoring set twice previously this season.

In doing so, Gourde inched closer to a couple Lightning franchise records for rookies as well.

After scoring his 23rd and 24th goals of the season, Gourde matched Tyler Johnson's Lightning rookie record for most goals in a season set in 2013-14. Gourde got the Bolts on the board at 10:38 of the first period after chasing down a loose puck at the side of the net and quickly depositing it past Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo. He extended the Lightning lead to 3-1 just 1:27 into the second period after taking possession of the puck behind the Florida net, wheeling into the left circle and firing a shot past Luongo for No. 24 on the season.

"I just try to keep my game simple," Gourde said following the overtime win. "I have amazing linemates and they've been helping me so much to do what I've been doing lately. I just want to keep going and building on the line chemistry."

Gourde tacked on an assist on J.T. Miller's first period goal for three points, giving him 53 on the season. He passed Tyler Johnson for the third-best rookie season scoring-wise in Tampa Bay history and continues to chase down the leaders Brad Richards (62 points in 2000-01) and Ondrej Palat (59 points in 2013-14). He still has 15 more games to get there too.

Gourde was asked after the game about the rookie records he's set or is close to setting.
"I guess that's pretty good," he said with a smile.

Sure is, Yanni.

 Video: FLA@TBL: Point drags around Dadonov, nets OT winner

2. BRAYDEN POINT IS CLUTCH

It's almost expected whenever Tampa Bay goes to overtime or a shootout, Brayden Point will be the player to win it for the Lightning.

In these last six overtime games for the Bolts, Point has provided the game-winning or game-deciding goal in four of them.

His move to score the overtime game-winner in Tuesday's contest was unreal.

After feeding Anton Stralman on the back post with the net open for the winner but watching Stralman pull his shot just wide, Point pounded his stick on the ice a couple of times to let his teammates know he wanted the puck back.

Stralman obliged, and Point went about winning the game himself.

With only Evgenii Dadonov between him and Luongo, Point dangled Dadonov, toe dragging the puck around the Panthers forward to completely elude him. Now with a clear path to shoot, Point lifted a wrist shot over the glove of Luongo and into the back of the net to set off a raucous celebration near the Lightning bench.

Said Gourde of Point's move on the game-winning goal: "I almost passed out on the bench."

A lot of Lightning fans were right there with you, Yanni.

Point scored his NHL-leading fourth overtime goal on Tuesday and netted his 10th game-winning goal of the season, good for a second place tie in the League. Point is now just two game-winning goals away from matching Steven Stamkos' Lightning record for most game-winning goals in a season (12, set in 2011-12).

"He's been doing that all year for us," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't even know how to describe the move he made. In the situation he was in, to be able to have the poise to pull that off, not only to make the move around Dadonov but then to put it in the back of the net, it was pretty impressive."

 Video: Point, Gourde lead Lightning to 5-4 overtime win

3. THE BUZZKILL

Okay, so it can't all be positive, despite the 5-4 victory over the NHL's hottest team in the Florida Panthers, winners of six-straight games coming into AMALIE Arena.

The Lightning gave up another third-period lead against Florida. The Panthers didn't even need that much time to level the score either, Nick Bjugstad netting his third goal of the game for a hat trick just 21 seconds into the third and Vincent Trocheck tying the game 4-4 at 5:25 of the third on a power-play shot from the top of the right circle.

Three separate times Tuesday, the Lightning had a two-goal lead only to watch Florida cut into it.

"When you have the lead in the third, you like to close it out," Cooper said. "We've been on the fortunate side of the overtime wins here for the last little while, but we've got to do a better job closing these games out."

Five-straight games now the Bolts have watched a third-period lead dwindle away.

That's an alarming trend for a Tampa Bay team that has championship aspirations.

"D-zone is something we're continuously trying to work on," Point said. "We're watching a lot of video and I think it's just finding our guys quicker, maybe a little bit more work ethic. We're kind of getting sloppy a little bit. We're losing our checks a little bit too much. Hopefully, just keep on the video, and we'll keep trying to get better at it."

The Lightning should get some help closing out late-game situations once trade deadline acquisition Ryan McDonagh is able to play, hopefully sometime next week. Ondrej Palat's return to the lineup from a lower-body injury will be a boost too.

But, certainly, the Lightning have to dig deeper at the end of games and find a way to close out teams or the problem could end up costing them in the postseason, should the Bolts get there as expected.

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