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Point, Kucherov shine in Lightning's hub city debut

Tampa Bay's top line produces four goals in Wednesday's exhibition victory over Florida

by Jacob Lynn @TBLightning /

With nothing on the line, the Bolts approached Wednesday's exhibition vs. the Panthers looking to round their game back into form before round robin play begins next week.

After a four month layoff, the 5-0 win at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto certainly went according to plan for the Lighnting.

Tampa Bay's stars came through offensively, both special teams units had success and Andrei Vasilevskiy backstopped the Bolts to the shutout.

Brayden Point got the Lightning on the board 13 minutes into the opening period, beating Sergei Bobrovsky with a backhand move in tight. Nikita Kucherov started the play for Tampa Bay, forcing a turnover behind the Florida net and getting the puck into the slot.

With less than five seconds to play in the first period, Point doubled Tampa Bay's lead. Point used his speed to skate by Mike Matheson down the right wing and slipped his shot over Bobrovsky's shoulder to put the Bolts up 2-0.

The Lightning carried the momentum into the beginning of the second period with a pair of goals in the first six minutes.

Kucherov gave Tampa Bay a three-goal advantage on a power play 1:51 into the period. The Bolts cycled the puck to Kucherov who scored on a one-timer from the circle.

Video: TBL@FLA: Kucherov scores PPG off Sergachev's feed

Less than four minutes later, Luke Schenn made it 4-0. A defensive breakdown from Florida let Schenn walk in from the point with the puck and fire his shot past Bobrovsky who was screened with traffic out in front.

Midway through the third period, Kucherov rounded out the scoring with his second of the night. Once again, Point's speed was too much for Matheson on the right wing and he sent a cross-crease feed for Kucherov to tap home and make it 5-0.

The top line of Point, Kucherov and Ondrej Palat was fantastic all afternoon. Point led the way with two goals and two assists, while Palat and Kucherov each recorded three points.

Tampa Bay was also bolstered by a strong performance from the power play and penalty kill. The Bolts went 1-for-3 with the man advantage on the afternoon and the PK was perfect, including a nearly two-minute kill of a 5-on-3 opportunity. 

Vasilevskiy didn't face a ton of dangerous looks, finishing the afternoon with 26 saves. His best work came in the form of three breakaway saves to keep the Panthers off the board. 

With this lone postseason tune up under their belts, the Lightning will now turn their attention to the round robin that begins on August 3 against Washington.  

Scoring Summary
1st Period
TBL | 13:42 Brayden Point (1) - Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov
TBL | 19:55 Brayden Point (2) - Kevin Shattenkirk

2nd Period
TBL | 1:51 Nikita Kucherov (1) - Mikhail Sergachev, Brayden Point - PPG
TBL | 5:13 Luke Schenn (1) - Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde

3rd Period
TBL | 9:12 Nikita Kucherov (2) - Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat

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