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Lightning’s Brayden Point ready to go for start of playoffs

Notes | Point sat twice in the final six regular-season games.
Lightning center Brayden Point skates before Sunday's practice at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto.
Lightning center Brayden Point skates before Sunday's practice at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto. [ EDUARDO A. ENCINA | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published May 1|Updated May 2

TORONTO — Center Brayden Point wouldn’t say Sunday whether he has been dealing with an injury that has kept him out of two of the Lightning’s past six games.

All fans need to know is “I feel good and I’m ready to go (for Round 1 of the playoffs against the Maple Leafs),” Point said.

Point was absent from the regular-season finale against the Islanders on Friday. He also missed Tampa Bay’s last meeting with Toronto, on April 21. The Lightning gave some players time off for body maintenance down the stretch.

Point did go to the bench during the Lightning’s loss Thursday in Columbus holding his left shoulder, the same shoulder that forced him to miss 15 games this season after he crashed into the end boards.

Related: Five questions ahead of the Lightning-Leafs series

Since sitting out the April 21 game, Point moved from the top line to centering a line with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn.

“Both are just extremely hard-working guys, great skaters, got some speed,” Point said. “And they’re responsible, too. Tony, he’s a really responsible player, so if I get caught, he’s able to play center and take care of that. I like the work ethic, and hopefully we can chip in just with some positive minutes.”

Practice facility brings back memories

Coach Jon Cooper leads a drill during the team's practice at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto on Sunday.
Coach Jon Cooper leads a drill during the team's practice at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto on Sunday. [ EDUARDO A. ENCINA | Tampa Bay Times ]

Before practice, coach Jon Cooper walked through the halls of Coca-Cola Coliseum looking for the locker room where he hoisted the Calder Cup trophy with AHL Norfolk in 2012.

“I actually had to go find the locker room where we went into, because it’s not this room,” Cooper said after emerging from the locker room the Lightning used Sunday. “They tucked us in the corner. I remember where we were spraying the champagne. I love being here.”

The Lightning’s then-AHL affiliate had a record 28-game winning streak and beat the Toronto Marlies to claim the Calder Cup at 101-year-old Coca-Cola Coliseum, then named Ricoh Coliseum.

That team also included Lightning forward Ondrej Palat and former Lightning players Tyler Johnson and Radko Gudas.

Quote of the Day

“My dad was a Maple Leafs fan. When I was a little kid, I was a Bobby Orr fan so I was a Bruins fan. I had to ask him last night who was cheering for in the series. Thankfully he had the right answer.” — Cooper

• • •

The Tampa Bay Times has commemorated the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup title with a new hardcover coffee table book, Striking Twice. Order now.

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