Point has 2 late goals, Lightning beat Hurricanes 3-1
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
By MARK DIDTLER
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Brayden Point's prettiest goal didn't count.
The two that did helped the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning win, again.
Point had a tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period and added a late empty-netter in the NHL-leading Lightning's 3-1 comeback victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
"We have confidence if we keep sticking with it," Point said.
After Point scored from in-close with 3:15 left, the center got his 28th goal into the empty net during the final minute.
Tampa Bay had a nifty breakaway goal by Point with 9:51 left in the second disallowed after a video review requested by the Hurricanes that determined the play was offside because Tyler Johnson had not completely left the ice on a line change.
Point had his original shot stopped by Petr Mrazek but put home a rebound by knocking in an ankle puck.
"A pretty clear offside," Point said.
Tampa Bay has 70 points with 38 games to play.
Tampa Bay is 18-2-2 against Carolina since the start of the 2012-13 season. The Lightning are 12-0-0 against the Metropolitan Division.
Justin Williams picked up his 300th NHL goal for the Hurricanes, who had a five-game winning streak end. Mzarek 27 stopped shots.
"It's not easy," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "When you play a team like Tampa, we're in a good position and then to lose it that way, that's a tough way to lose. You almost rather lose 8-0."
The Lightning, 17-1-1 over the last 19 games, won their ninth consecutive at home.
The Lightning's NHL-best power play converted its fifth chance when Steven Stamkos' shot was blocked and the puck went through the slot to Palat, who tied it at 1 at 11:56 of the third.
Williams opened the scoring with a rebound goal from the low left circle 4:34 into the second.
Mzarek is 1-10-2 with a shutout in the regular season against the Lightning. He went 4-6 against Tampa Bay in the playoffs while with Detroit, including a key role in a near upset of the eventual Eastern Conference champion Lightning in a seven-game opening round series in 2015.
"He made some real big saves," Brind'Amour said. "Unfortunately we didn't get enough offense to support him tonight."
Tampa Bay star Nikita Kucherov got his 72nd point with an assist. He has been held pointless in just nine games.
NOTES: Tampa Bay is 6-5-0 when trailing after two periods. "It was like we were in quicksand," Cooper said of the first two periods. . Williams has 18 goals in 52 games against Tampa Bay. ... Lightning RW Ryan Callahan (upper body) missed his second straight game and is day to day. ... Victor Hedman played in his 663rd game and moved past Pavel Kubina for the most by a Tampa Bay defenseman.
Hurricanes: Host Buffalo on Friday night.
Lightning: At Buffalo on Saturday night.
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Updated January 10, 2019