It would not surprise anyone who knows Point well that the NHL’s bubble environment suits him just fine. Or that he was completely unaffected by a change of hotels, cities, dressing rooms, arenas and routines this week.
He’s the embodiment of a hockey player; wherever, whenever or however that game is played.
When last we saw the 24-year-old centre, he was all over the ice during a take-charge shift that ended with Victor Hedman’s double-overtime goal to eliminate the Boston Bruins. He didn’t miss a beat as the scene shifted west to Edmonton for a best-of-seven with the New York Islanders.
On Point’s first shift, he stutter-stepped around Ryan Pulock and aggressively cut across Thomas Greiss to make it 1-0. The Lightning went ahead 2-1 on his third shift, drew a penalty on his fourth shift and made it 3-1 on his fifth shift.
Some players would consider that a productive series and the first game wasn’t even yet 11 minutes old.
“He’s been an animal out there,” teammate Pat Maroon told Kyle Bukauskus during the second intermission.
“I’m not sure,” said Hedman, when asked if there was anything Point couldn’t do.
“Obviously we haven’t played for a week and you were thinking a little bit how the start was going to be and then Pointer goes out and does that. So, you know, I think he set the tone from the start. He and [Nikita Kucherov] and [Ondrej] Palat were unbelievable once again today. So, Brayden Point is taking it to another level, that’s for sure.”