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NHL Rink Wrap: Point shines in return; Sharks hold on for wild win

NHL Scores

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Brayden Point #21 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his second goal of the period against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Amalie Arena on December 28, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

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Top player in the NHL on Tuesday

Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning

Even though they have been without two of their top players for most of the season (Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point) the Tampa Bay Lightning have still been one of the NHL’s best teams this season and looking like a team that is absolutely capable of a three-peat. They got one of those top players (Point) back on Tuesday night and he wasted no time in making an impact. He recorded three points, including two goals and an assist on a late game-tying goal, as well as six shots on goal, to help the Lightning extend their current winning streak to four games. The Lightning also have the most points (43) and highest points percentage (.742) in the NHL. They have done that, again, without Kucherov for most of the season and Point for more than a month-and-a-half. An incredible hockey team.

Highlights from around the NHL on Tuesday

Impressive effort from an undermanned Montreal Canadiens team in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night and it almost resulted in a win. David Savard, who is not known for his offense at the NHL level, scored this beauty of a goal in the third period.

Same game here, but Point’s first goal in his return to the lineup is a thing of beauty.

The game of the night was in San Jose where the Sharks were 8-7 winners over the Arizona Coyotes. Timo Meier had to use his baseball skills for this goal.

Three takeaways from the NHL on Tuesday

Montreal’s undermanned lineup gave Tampa Bay everything it could

The Montreal Canadiens’ roster on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay was almost unrecognizable given the injury and COVID situation the team is dealing with, and even though the Lightning had a few players out of the lineup as well (including their Vezina caliber goalie and their two-time Stanley Cup winning head coach) it still seemed like an incredible mismatch on paper. But the Canadiens pushed Tampa Bay to overtime and nearly pulled off a stunning upset with a roster that was made up primarily of call-ups and AHL players. There are very few instances in professional sports where a moral victory is a legitimate thing, but this might be one of them for the Canadiens.

Wild night for offense

There were three games on the schedule on Tuesday night and they featured a total of 33 goals. Maybe it was the combination of teams taking more than a week off and rosters being messed up due to COVID protocols, but whatever the case nobody was playing defense or goalie on Tuesday.

In Los Angeles, the Golden Knights and Kings combined for four goals during a minute-and-a-half stretch in the first period, while the Coyotes and Sharks played a bonkers game that saw San Jose score two goals in seven seconds and the Coyotes overcome multiple two-goal deficits to force overtime.

Tuukka Rask and the Bruins is getting interesting

There is nothing official yet, but Tuukka Rask has been skating and working out in recent weeks and there seems to be momentum building for him to make a return to the Bruins at some point this season. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said on Tuesday that there is momentum building and some preliminary discussions, but that it will come down to what Rask wants to do and the salary cap situation. It would be interesting because goaltending has not really been an issue for the Bruins this season and they still have very limited salary cap space while also needing to address their scoring depth beyond the top line.

Wednesday’s big story

There are six game scheduled for Wednesday in the NHL, and the most intriguing of them might be in Anaheim where one of the league’s biggest surprise teams this season -- the Ducks -- plays host to the league’s most surprising team recently. The Ducks will be looking to keep pace in the Pacific Division with Vegas in their race for the top spot, as they continue to exceed any and all expectations that anybody may have had for them this season. The Canucks, meanwhile, will be getting a chance to extend their winning streak and perfect record under new coach Bruce Boudreau. The Canucks are 6-0-0 since Boudreau was hired to replace Travis Green earlier this month.

Tuesday’s NHL Scores

Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
Vegas Golden Knights 6, Los Angeles Kings 3
San Jose Sharks 8, Arizona Coyotes 7 (SO)
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Postponed)