TAMPA — Victor Hedman took a little shot at Tyler Johnson. It was Johnson who couldn't get on the bench quickly enough and was called offsides, wiping away Brayden Point's first goal from Thursday night's 3-1 win over the Hurricanes.
"If it wasn't for Johnny, he would have had a hat trick," Hedman said with a smile.
It's too bad, because the would-be-goal came on a nice play. Mathieu Joseph made a great outlet pass to get Point behind the defensemen on a breakaway. Goaltender Petr Mrazek made the original save, but Point backhanded his rebound.
Palat hadn't realized Johnson was the one offsides. Once informed, he said "Johnny needs to be better." Again, with a smile.
Then again, coach Jon Cooper suggested it was the Amalie Arena crowd's reaction to the goal being waved off that gave the Lightning life. So perhaps the latter two goals (the game-winning power-play goal and an empty-netter) wouldn't have happened without Johnson.
Interestingly, it was Johnson who had hat tricks in each of his last two games against Carolina. He's scored against the Hurricanes more than against any other team. Johnson averages a point per game against Carolina (11 goals, eight assists in 19 games), versus his average of .68 points per game overall.