Lightning's top line could jolt Senators

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

It's hard to imagine a Tampa Bay Lightning team with even more offensive punch, but with a potential new top line in tow, the Lightning will try to keep their momentum going when they visit the winless Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

Brayden Point's season debut was the catalyst in Tampa Bay's 7-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The line of Point, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos combined for 11 points (five goals, six assists).

"You're playing with two superstar players in this league, they make it easy for me to slide in," said Point, who missed the Lightning's first three games while recovering from offseason hip surgery.

There certainly didn't appear to be much rust in Point's game, as he contributed two goals and an assist in 19:19 of action against Toronto. The new alignment also sparked Kucherov and Stamkos, who had combined for only four total points over the Lightning's first three games of the season.

Kucherov, Stamkos and Point rarely saw much ice time together last season, as the Lightning preferred to deploy more balanced lines rather than have their top three scorers all together on a single unit. Combining the trio together still could prove to be a relative rarity as the season develops, perhaps being saved for third periods or even only important late-game situations.

Point is just happy to be back playing, no matter who his linemates are.

"The thing about our team is, we've got so many talented players that whatever the line combo is, you're playing with great players. It's a luxury," Point said.

Tampa Bay's scoring prowess presents a major challenge for a Senators team that has allowed 15 goals over its first three games, all regulation losses (0-3-0). Ottawa led after both the first and second periods against the Blues on Thursday, but surrendered four third-period goals in a 6-4 defeat.

Senators coach D.J. Smith praised his club's effort against the Stanley Cup champions, though "we made some mistakes that ended up in our net." Perhaps the key error was a third-period turnover that allowed Brayden Schenn to give St. Louis a 4-3 lead.

"You're going to learn from that. You're going to learn you've got to chip away, get your point and win it in overtime," Smith said. "You're going to learn to finish games off, [but] then we came back and we tied it again. ... On another night, maybe we get a better result."

Making his first start in net this season, Anders Nilsson allowed five goals on 36 shots against the Blues. Veteran goalie Craig Anderson is likely to get the start against the Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to be back between the pipes for the Lightning. Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on his first 13 shots faced on Thursday, though the reigning Vezina Trophy winner stopped all 15 of Toronto's shots over the final two periods.

Vladislav Namestnikov made his debut for the Senators on Thursday, collecting an assist in 16:55 of ice time. The forward was acquired by Ottawa in a trade with the Rangers on Monday.

The Lightning have an even 1-1-1 record through three games of a six-game road trip against Atlantic Division opponents. Ottawa has been a welcome place to visit in recent years, as the Lightning are 6-1-0 in their last seven road games against the Senators.

--Field Level Media