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Lightning’s Brayden Point-Yanni Gourde-J.T. Miller line not too shabby

By Roger Mooney
Published: March 7, 2018 Updated: March 7, 2018 at 09:57 AM
J.T. Miller backhands a shot past Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo for his second goal in as many games with the Lightning. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

TAMPA – The Miller-Gourde-Point line seems to be working, if Tuesday's 5-4 overtime win over the Panthers is any indication.

Yanni Gourde had two goals and an assist.

J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist.

Brayden Point was pointless in regulation, which is fine, since he does his best work in overtime.

It was Point's overtime goal that was the difference. He has 10 game-winning goals this season. The team record for one season is 12, set by Steven Stamkos in 2011-2012.

"They're really easy to play with," Miller said of his new linemates. "They are talented, fast players with a ton of skill, so it makes my job easy. I just try to go in, disrupt plays, get the puck and try to get to the net. We did a good job of hounding their defense tonight and got some opportunities."

Miller, who came over from the Rangers with D Ryan McDonagh on Feb. 26, has five points in his last three games.

"He's been amazing," Gourde said. "He brings tremendous energy to this team. He finishes his hits every time. He's very good on forechecks. He can skate very well and, I mean, he shoots the puck. Did you see his backhand tonight?"

The backhander came when Gourde got to a loose puck behind the net and fed Miller, who was in front. Miller skated from left to right before backhanding a shot over the left shoulder of Panthers' goalie Roberto Luongo.

Gourde, who snapped a nine-game goalless streak, has 24 goals and 53 points. His 24 goals tied him with Tyler Johnson for the most rookie goals in team history. His 53 points are third-most by a Lightning rookie, behind Brad Richard's team record 62 set in 2000-2001 and Ondrej Palat's 59 in 2013-2014.

"I just try to keep my game simple," Gourde said. "I have amazing linemates helping me do what I've been doing lately. I just want to keep building on that line chemistry."

Gourde has 12 multi-point games this season.

When asked if he thought before the season that Gourde would have 50-plus points, coach Jon Cooper said, "We had hoped so, but he works for it and that's why he is where he is right now, because he's a pretty dedicated player. Guys that work that hard, usually it works out for them, and I'm really happy for him."

Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected] Follow @rogermooney50