Stanley Cup Playoffs takeaways: Lightning's Brayden Point has clutch gene

Ondrej Palat scored the eventual game-winner in the first period and the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Florida Panthers with a 3-1 win to go up 2-0 in their playoff series.

Brayden Point led the playoffs in goals one year ago en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup and the clutch Tampa Bay Lightning forward is off to another hot start to the post-season.

Point scored two goals in the final seven minutes of Game 1 to lead his team to victory – in fact, 17 of Point’s 24 career playoff goals have been game-tying or go-ahead markers – and the centre assisted on Ondrej Palat’s eventual game-winner in Game 2 Tuesday after undressing MacKenzie Weegar on a nice individual effort.

Point’s regular-season numbers might’ve taken a slight dip following his 92-point campaign in 2019, but he is gaining a reputation for raising his intensity and production in the playoffs.

He does it at both ends of the ice, as well, playing a 200-foot game and has won more than 64 per cent of the faceoffs he has taken through two games.

Point and his teammates stepped up defensively in Game 2, a mature response to a rambunctious Game 1. The Lightning dressed Luke Schenn as an extra blueliner and went with only 11 forwards Tuesday, tightening things up and not allowing Florida really any top-notch scoring chances.

“That was more indicative of the way we can play,” Steven Stamkos said of his team taking a 2-0 series lead.

Jarry bounces back from Game 1 blunders

Tristan Jarry allowed several soft goals, all on his glove side, in a losing effort against the New York Islanders in Game 1. The Pittsburgh Penguins netminder was solid and able to avenge that loss with a 37-save performance Tuesday.

Semyon Varlamov got the nod in net for the Isles after missing Game 1 and he allowed a muffin from Bryan Rust to float over his glove and into the net three minutes into the first period. Ten minutes later he left a gaping five-hole open for Jeff Carter’s first playoff goal in a Penguins uniform. Varlamov settled down after that and ended up making 43 saves yet he was outplayed by his counterpart on this night.

It was Jarry’s first-career playoff win and a vital W for the Pens as the series gets set to shift to Long Island for Game 3 on Thursday.

Pittsburgh had won nine consecutive playoff series starting with their back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, however ever since a second-round loss to the Capitals in 2018 the Pens had only won three post-season games prior to Game 2. Falling behind 2-0 against an Islanders team that swept them two seasons ago was not an option for a Pens team still without Evgeni Malkin.

Tuch a nice stopgap yet Vegas could really use Pacioretty back

The Vegas Golden Knights forward unit has shown some holes thus far against the Minnesota Wild and could use some “Patches” if you catch my drift.

Max Pacioretty was a game-time decision Tuesday for Game 2 but didn’t take warmups and has now missed eight straight with an undisclosed injury.

Alex Tuch started Game 2 on the top unit and ended up as the No. 2 star of the game behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Tuch scored two of his team’s three goals and did it against the team that drafted him which must’ve made it extra sweet.

The series is tied 1-1 as it heads to Minnesota though Vegas can’t be happy with only three goals in two games.

Getting Pacioretty back can give Vegas a totally different dynamic. Pacioretty scored 24 goals in 48 regular-season games and his chemistry with Mark Stone, in particular, can’t be duplicated.

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