Tampa’s Series Terminator

Tampa is one step closer to repeating as Cup champions, and no Lightning player — or anyone this NHL postseason — has been as decisive as Brayden Point.

The center in the midst of a three-year, $20.5 million contract scored the third series-clinching goal of his career — the most in franchise history — to lift Tampa over the Hurricanes in Tuesday’s Game 5 and advance to the third round.

After ending two series during the 2020 Stanley Cup run, Point has a chance to become the second player in NHL history to do it four times over two seasons, matching the Oilers’ Ken Linseman in 1983-84.

During the regular season, the 25-year-old Calgary native notched a respectable 23 goals and 25 assists in 56 games to lead the Lightning in scoring, but his goals this postseason tie him with the Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon for the league lead.

Tampa, which will face either the Bruins or Islanders in the semifinals, are +200 to win another Cup — and more postseason coin. Each player on the ’20 champs earned $240,000 for winning the Cup. 

Teammates Andrei Vasilevskiy (+250) and Nikita Kucherov (+700) have better odds to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP. Point sits at +1,400 now, but maybe one or two more series-killers will bump him up.