Quick Strikes: Brayden Point celebrates his birthday with a two-goal game

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 3-2, Kucherov should be considered for the Hart trophy, and Point celebrates his birthday in style.

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 at Madison Square Garden last night. “Despite being outshot 28 to 16 and losing 37 of 60 faceoffs, the Lightning won the first game of a two-game road trip.” [Raw Charge]

Peter Budaj looked sharp as he picked up his victory as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, stopping 26 of 28 shots - including a very dangerous breakaway in the first minute of the game.

Unfortunately, the Lightning lost center Vladislav Namestnikov to a re-aggravated lower body injury. He left the game after the second period and did not return. No other official updates from the team yet.

It’s time to consider Nikita Kucherov for league MVP. “Nikita Kucherov, perhaps the NHL’s least talked-about but most deserving Hart Trophy candidate. In 60 games, Kucherov is second only to Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (1.18) in points per game average with 1.12.” [Puck Daddy]

Brayden Point Appreciation Day!

Okay, so maybe it’s not an officially recognized holiday, but let’s take some time to celebrate rookie first-line center Brayden Point.

He turned 21 years old yesterday, so we took a trip down memory lane to celebrate some of his milestone accomplishments this year. My personal favorite is “The first time he made Connor McDavid look silly.” [Raw Charge]

Ryan Callahan surprised him with a little birthday gift during his post-game interview.

When asked about the shaving cream, “No, I didn’t expect that. [smiles] That’s pretty funny. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me.”

With all the injuries down the middle, Brayden Point has assumed the role of first-line center, slotting in between Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov. Based on his game-winning goal, I’d say he’s fitting in nicely.

The Lightning are incredibly fortunate to have a rookie who can step into the spotlight and perform well under the pressure of a late season playoff push. The Bolts remain undefeated when Point has a multi-point game.

The League

The league-leading Washington Capitals think losing a few games in a row is “adversity.” Yeah, okay sure. Let us know when half your players are on injured reserve. [NHL]

Brad Marchand scored a hat-trick last night and is now tied with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in goals. I don’t care for this development. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

Remember that amazing Kucherov shootout goal against the Buffalo Sabres? Well, this kid definitely did.