Beat writer Bryan Burns counts down Brayden Point's top five moments with the Bolts
The Tampa Bay Lightning cast the final piece of their offseason puzzle Monday when they re-signed Brayden Point to a three-year bridge contract at a cost of $6.75-million AAV. Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois told reporters on a conference call Point had offseason hip surgery and won't be healed up in time to play by Opening Night, but having the 23-year-old superstar center back in the fold is a huge sigh of relief to Bolts nation and a major to-do crossed off the Lightning's checklist. In honor of 21's impact on the Lightning in his first three seasons as well as the future highlights he'll undoubtedly create, we've compiled the Top 5 moments, in no particular order, from Brayden Point's Tampa Bay Lightning career.
November 15, 2018 Record-setting power-play hat trick Point put the Lightning in the lead in their road contest at Pittsburgh and set a franchise record in the process after scoring three power-play goals in the span of 91 seconds between the first and second periods of Tampa Bay's 4-3 victory over the Penguins.
Down 2-0, the Bolts were awarded a 5-on-3 power play, which Point converted with three seconds remaining in the first period by sniping a shot from the left circle.
When the power play resumed in the second, Point continued to find the back of the net. Again, on a 5-on-3, Steven Stamkos faked a shot from the slot and passed off to his left for Point to one-time home 41 seconds into the second. Just 47 seconds later, Point completed his natural hat trick, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing sequence from the slot for the fastest three goals by a single player in Lightning history and the sixth-fastest natural hat trick in NHL history.
March 23, 2019 Reaching the 40-goal milestone Point became just the sixth different Lightning player all-time to net 40 goals in a season after reaching the milestone in a 4-3 loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the Gateway City. At 23 years old and 10 days, Point is the second-youngest Bolt to hit 40. Only Steven Stamkos, who scored 51 goals during his sophomore season at age 20, was younger.
April 12, 2019 Dropping the gloves Down 1-0 in a 2019 first round playoff series with Columbus and trailing Game 2 at home 2-0, the Lightning were in dire need for a jolt of energy to get them back into the series. Brayden Point tried to provide that lift, getting into a fight with Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski late in the first period and dragging Werenski to the ground despite giving up over 40 pounds.
November 5, 2016 The first goal After coming oh-so-close many times through the opening month of his rookie season, Point found the back of the net for the first time in his NHL career in Tampa Bay's 4-1 home victory over New Jersey. With the Lightning holding a 2-1 advantage and on a power play early in the third period, Nikita Kucherov lined up a shot from the top of the slot that ricocheted off Point's stick and fluttered up and over the right shoulder of Devils goalie Cory Schneider. With his first goal officially in the books, Point threw both arms up in the air and looked to the sky as if to say "finally."
April 30, 2018 Pushing back against the Bruins Point became the third player in Lightning history to record four points in a playoff game and redeemed himself after a dismal minus-5 rating in a Game 1 loss to help Tampa Bay level the Eastern Conference Semifinal series against Boston one game apiece. Point assisted on Tampa Bay's first three goals then scored with 26 seconds remaining in the 4-2 win. He also helped stymie the Bruins' potent Bergeron-Marchand-Pastrnak line in what would be a pivotal turning point in the series after that trio gashed the Bolts in a 6-2 Game 1 win for Boston. Behind Point's defensive wizardry, the Lightning would go on to win four straight over the Bruins and advance to its third Eastern Conference Final in four seasons.