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The Tampa Bay Lightning take Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoffs matchup against the Florida Panthers thanks to clutch third period goals by Brayden Point.
The first three games of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs all had to go to overtime, where the Washington Capitals, New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild all emerged victorious over their respective opponents. On Sunday night, it appeared that the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers were set to make it four straight overtime games in the playoffs.
But Lightning center Brayden Point had other ideas.
Both Tampa Bay and Florida were tied four goals apiece with a little over one minute remaining in regulation. Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh launched a deep pass to Point, who was breaking away from the Panthers defense past center ice. Point had a one-on-one matchup against Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and won with some fantastic deke work to give the Lightning a 5-4 victory.
Lightning: Brayden Point’s two goals in the third period clinches Tampa Bay’s win over the Florida Panthers
Five minutes before this beauty of a goal, Point scored off a fake slap-shot pass from winger Nikita Kucherov to tie the game 4-4.
Speaking of Kucherov, the winger made his return to the Lightning on Sunday night after his missed the entire regular-season due to hip surgery. Kucherov scored two goals in the second period, while having five shots on goal throughout the contest.
Point is no stranger to success in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Last year, Point scored 14 goals and tallied 19 assists in 25 games. In fact, Point scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars.
While the Lightning celebrate a win off a clutch performance from Point, the Panthers will look to even up the series this Tuesday night.