Point has three points in season debut, Lightning defeat Maple Leafs
Brayden Point had two goals and an assist in his season debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a 7-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.
Point missed the first three games of the season after having offseason hip surgery.
“There were a few plays there where the timing wasn’t there, a couple times the puck bounced off my stick where I wasn’t ready for it, and a couple times in the defensive zone where I lost my guy, so there’s some stuff to clean up that’s for sure,” Point said. “But our line was skating tonight, our whole team was skating, and that was a big part of our success. Playing with [Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov], two superstar players in this league, they made it easier for me to slide in.”
Kucherov had two goals and two assists, Stamkos had a goal and three assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the Lightning (2-1-1), who had lost two straight.
“After the crazy first period (seven goals), we really settled down and defended really well,” Stamkos said. “Those guys are a really skilled team, so if we can control the pace of the play like I thought we did tonight, you can see what happens. We can shut really elite offensive teams down by skating and competing.”
Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist, and Andreas Johnsson and John Tavares scored for the Maple Leafs (2-2-1), who have lost three in a row. Frederik Andersen allowed seven goals on 28 shots. He was replaced in the third period by Michael Hutchinson, who made five saves.
“Tonight was disappointing. It wasn’t like any of the other games we’ve been in, obviously. I mean, it was seven goals in the first period,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “I actually thought in the second we got it going but never got on the inside. They scored late, and then we had no answer whatsoever. Any way you look at it, even going into the third, you can still leave the building feeling good if you perform right in the third, and we didn’t. We didn’t execute at a high enough level, we didn’t play right, and they were better than us.”
They said it
“It goes to show first and foremost that Stamkos is the captain of this team. You can talk all you want, but you have to show up and do it on the ice and he led the way tonight. It shows what kind of guy he is and what kind of captain he is. That line was phenomenal.” — Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman on Stamkos’ performance after challenging them following a 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, when they were held without a shot in the second period
“If you make mistakes out there, you’re going to pay for it. We just weren’t up to speed today and yeah, we paid for it. We’ve just got to get back to playing our way. We’re going to flush this one and I’m sure we can prepare for practice tomorrow and move forward.” — Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen
Need to know
Hedman played his 700th NHL game. … Maple Leafs forward William Nylander had an assist on Matthews’ goal to extend his point streak to five games (two goals, three assists).
Lightning: At the Ottawa Senators on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; TVAS2, TSN5, SUN, NHL.TV)
Maple Leafs: At the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, FS-D, NHL.TV)