By ROGER MOONEY
TAMPA – You have to be on the ice. That's what Brayden Point said when asked about his habit of scoring overtime goals.
Okay. Point was on the ice Tuesday against the Panthers in the extra period.
"Coaches trust me with that," Point said. "It's a privilege to play in overtime."
And, you need teammates who can feed him the puck, he added.
Check. Anton Stralman found Point to the left of Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo.
"A good pass from Stralman. I make a move around the defenseman. A good shot on net and it goes upstairs," Point said of his goal that gave the Lightning a 5-4 win against the Panthers.
It was the 10th game-winning goal this season for Point and fourth in overtime.
"He's a special player," Alex Killorn said. "To be clutch like that in the end was huge for us."
The Lightning (46-17-40) has now played a franchise-record six straight overtime games, going 5-0-1 during the stretch. The NHL record for consecutive overtime games is seven, shared by the 2004 Oilers and the 2009 Maple Leafs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Panthers (32-25-7), who are trying to earn the final wild-card spot.
"We've done a good job winning these (overtime) games," Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn said. "We're a resilient group, I think. Regardless of how things went, to get a win in this league against a team playing so well is a great achievement."
This is how things went: Yanni Gourde helped power the Lightning to a 3-1 lead with two goals and an assist on a goal by J.T. Miller less than 22 minutes into the game.
Killorn's goal late in the second period gave the Lightning a 4-2 lead.
But three goals by Nick Bjugstad, the third just 21 seconds into the third period, and one by Vincent Trocheck with 14:35 to play in regulation made it a 4-4 game.
Coach Jon Cooper said defensive mistakes that surfaced earlier in the game caught up to the Lightning in the third. Yet, he felt his team played its best hockey in some time after Panthers rallied to tie it at 4.
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy kept the Panthers from taking the lead, while Luongo did his part in the other net.
Andrej Sustr, who assisted on Goourde's first goal of the night, almost sent everyone home after regulation with a shot that deflected off a Panthers defenseman and hit the near post late in the third.
But the game headed to overtime. Point ended it at 2:49, meaning the Lightning has played 23 minutes, 34 seconds of extra time over this six-game stretch.
Point made sure it wouldn't last any longer.
Teamed with Stralman and Tyler Johnson, the trio put pressure on Luongo. Stralman was able to get to the loose puck in the right corner.
From there, Point faked Evgenii Dadonov to committing toward the net, which left the middle open.
Point skated into the open area then fired the puck home.
"He's been doing that all year for us," Cooper said.
It was Point who scored the winner in Saturday's shootout win against the Flyers.
"You got to be out there," Point said. "Not every guy gets to play there."
Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected] Follow @rogermooney50