Edmonton – We should taste every moment.
Not only is Braden Point only level-headed in the NHL’s return-to-play offs, but it’s not entirely clear how much more the play-driving center at Tampa Bay Lighting had left to give him.
Somewhat unbelievably, he has three goals and four assists in points so far in the four games he has played in the Eastern Conference Final for the series between Buzz and the competition between the New York Islands during the 12 periods he has performed due to an injury that prevented him from skating at 5:30.
The point on Sunday afternoon stood on the bench for the final 9:37 of the Tampere 4-1 win. His coach, John Cooper, later admitted “we’re trying to handle him.”
Towards the end of Game 4 they could feel so comfortable because at the beginning of the third period the insurance goal points and linemates Ondrej Platt and Nikita Kucherov created. It would be recorded as the ninth of a point playoff, but it was the result of an impressive top-line shift where they originally threw it into the net.
In the context of his last few days, it was a great attempt from the point.
He could barely get on the player’s bench after taking a shameless look injury which eventually forced him to miss more than half of the 2 games. Then, after Game 3 was completely absent, he covered more ice than any member of Lightning during the first 20. A few minutes on Sunday.
He helped Pilate score a second-period goal – twisting his wrist so slightly to send the ball safely between Brooke Nelson and Adam Pelech after reaching the blue line – and is now tied with Kucharov and Nathan McKinnon for a play-off scoring lead. 25 points.
This is more than any player who managed all the playoffs last year. And point 1 has reached there in the 16-game segment that he has a ridiculous 77.77 per hour this summer. Got points – MacKinnon (4.56), Kucherov (4.22) and NHL bubble surpassed everyone else.
“He was our best player,” Palat said.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s the most dangerous man in the playoffs this year,” added teammate Blake Coleman.
And even with the chance to still reach the Stanley Cup final, there could be a lawsuit to keep the point out of Game 5 on Tuesday. He has some breathing room with a 3-1 series lead of electricity, and he was clearly uncomfortable after Plach tilted his six-foot-three, 218-pound frame into him.
Point needs to use both hands to lift himself off the ice and when he got back on the bench there was a long talk with a team coach. He will not make another change in the game.
“It’s the playoffs and these guys are playing in tough, tough minutes,” Cooper said. “You see the intensity in these games and they increase with each game they play and each round. It’s no different in this series.
“It’s a strong series and I’m sure the guys on both teams are going to have to fight in different things.”
The games in this pre-conference final were tougher than the overall score. Arrivals coach Barry Trots has admitted that the biggest defender has worked to make the top line by beating fugitive-point-Kuchcherov Anders Lee-Matthew Barzal-Jordan Aberel 6-1.
“Yes, their first line has put a mark on us in a number of games here,” Trots said.
It goes through many points, which make it strong at its edges and comfortable to go to areas of ice that make it physically involved. This allows him to make offenses both off and on the run and in no way does he skirt defensive responsibilities.
He’s a complete weapon that becomes even more dangerous when the intensity is thrown, just as it was during 4 games that were 0-0 from midway points. The Islanders missed no chance to finish the check on him and still couldn’t slow down the Tampa engine who is already playing at less than 100 percent.
“I mean, it’s all over. He was on top of everything, ”Cooper said.
“He’s a special talent,” Coleman added. “Every time he comes out, he pulls the ice.”
Wondering if he was perfectly healthy?