Saturday, September 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Point strengthens roster case in preseason finale win (w/ video)

TAMPA — RW Brayden Point was given a chance to showcase his skills Saturday during the Lightning's preseason finale, playing mostly on the second line in the spot reserved for Nikita Kucherov. Point responded with a goal and an assist in Tampa Bay's 5-3 victory against the Predators.

"We're extremely happy with his camp," coach Jon Cooper said. "With two of our regulars up front not here, not available to play, that opens the door for some guys. He's one of the guys that it looks like it's opening a door for."

The two regulars are Kucherov, an unsigned restricted free agent who is not in camp, and Ryan Callahan, who is out until November after having offseason hip surgery.

"(Point) played well. He's producing," C Steven Stamkos said. "He's going to get a chance, I think, with some of the injuries and questions that we have up front.

"He definitely deserves to be here. He showed it again (Saturday)."

Point had three goals and an assist during the team's five preseason games.

"I'm happy with how I played," he said.

"Obviously, they gave me a lot of opportunity to play with some good players. I'm thankful for that."

RELATED: Lightning defense set, forward spots up for grabs.

POWER PLAY PRODUCES: The Lightning was 2-for-3 with the man advantage, getting power play goals from D Nikita Nesterov and C Tyler Johnson.

Improving the power play that ranked 28th in the 30-team league last season is the reason assistant coach Todd Richards was hired in June.

"It's something we've been working a lot on in camp, and usually when you work on something, you want to see results, and we did, and that's a positive," Stamkos said.

RELATED: New face charged with putting life in moribund power play.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Stamkos (three assists), D Victor Hedman and D Anton Stralman played for the first time in the preseason, having missed the first four games because of the World Cup of Hockey. Stamkos was on the winning Canadian team that finished play Sept. 29. Hedman and Stralman played for Sweden, which lost in the semifinals Sept. 25. … C Brian Boyle, RW J.T. Brown and D Slater Koekkoek were healthy scratches. … D Luke Witkowski and F Gabriel Dumont cleared waivers and were assigned to AHL Syracuse. … The Lightning is off today. It practices at 11 a.m. Monday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. Practice is open to the public.

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