Brayden Point scores in OT, Lightning edge Panthers 5-4
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning believe in themselves.
Brayden Point scored a power-play goal 3:12 into overtime and the Lightning overcame a 4-1 deficit to beat the Florida Panthers 5-4 on Saturday night.
“It’s hole to climb out of for sure, but we didn’t panic and kept playing our game,” Point said. “We have a belief in our group that if we’re down we’re not out of it.”
The Lightning got the power play when Florida’s Frank Vatrano was called for interference at 2:13 of overtime.
Point took a pass from Nikita Kucherov across the front of the crease to the left side and flipped it past James Reimer. Tampa Bay improved to 19-7-1, a point ahead of Toronto for the overall NHL lead.
“A great pass by Kuch. I just tried to stop it and made sure I put it in,” Point said.
Kucherov had a goal and two assists, and Cedric Paquette, Mathieu Joseph and Alex Killorn also scored. Louis Domingue made 24 saves, and Steven Stamkos had an assist to help the Lightning improve to 3-0 against the Panthers this season.
“It was tough to look up and see we were down 4-1,” coach Jon Cooper said. “We knew we were playing well enough to come back in this game. I felt like we deserved points out of this game and we got two.”
Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau each had a goal and an assist, and Vatrano and Aleksander Barkov also scored for the Panthers. Reimer stopped 34 shots.
The Panthers played the second of back-to-back games, beating the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Friday.
“We knew they were going to keep coming, and we knew in a back-to-back that we couldn’t let our foot off the gas and that’s what we did,” Huberdeau said.
The Panthers have gone to overtime in four of their past five games and lost for the third time in five games at home.
“We were opportunistic early and we couldn’t finish it off against a good hockey team obviously,” coach Bob Boughner said. “The overtime penalty cost us.”
The Lightning tied it 4 on a goal credited to Paquette. With traffic in front of the crease, the puck bounced off the skate of Florida’s Dryden Hunt and into the net with 8:19 left in the third.
The Lightning trailed 4-1 in the second before mounting their comeback.
Joseph cut it to 4-2 when he one-timed a pass from Kucherov at 13 minutes of the second.
Kucherov’a shot from the right circle during a power play made it 4-3 with a minute left in the second.
Huberdeau stretched the Panthers lead to 3-1 on a breakaway after he beat Domingue from in front 2:11 into the second. Huberdeau has eight points over the past four games.
Dadonov’s power-play goal during a 5-on-3 put the Panthers ahead 4-1. Keith Yandle passed from the slot to Dadonov to the right of the crease and poked in the puck at 8:04 of the second. Yandle recorded his 400th NHL assist on the play.
The Panthers scored two goals in 11 seconds to take a 2-0 lead in the first. Vatrano’s shot from above the right circle beat Domingue at 10:23 to make the score 1-0.
Barkov made it 2-0 when he flipped the puck over Domingue from in front.
Killorn closed the score to 2-1 when he one-timed a pass from Mikhail Sergachev between Reimer’s glove and the post at 11:18 of the first.
NOTES: Huberdeau has five consecutive multi-point games, second in Panthers franchise history to Pavel Bure (7 GP in 2000-01). ... Lightning D Ryan McDonagh returned after leaving the game against Buffalo on Thursday with an upper-body injury. ... Kucherov has 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists) on a nine-game points streak, the longest by a Lightning player this season. ... Stamkos has more goals (30), assists (31) and points (61) against Florida than against any other NHL team.
Lightning: At New Jersey on Monday night.
Panthers: Host Boston on Tuesday night.