Ondrej Palat scored a winner with 42 seconds left to give the Tampa Bay Lighting a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers. The win also gave the Lightning hope for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. The series winner will face either the Colorado Avalanche or the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup finals.
Palat, who has recorded 43 playoff goals, said he was just trying to shoot as fast as possible and was lucky enough that it went in. It was his 10th career game-winning goal, the second-most in the history of the Tampa Bay Lighting.
“I was just trying to shoot quick and lucky enough it went in,” said Palat.
Palat’s goal came after the Lightning rallied from a two-goal deficit. It was set up by a beautiful pass from Nikita Kucherov. The Rangers were two minutes away from taking a 2-0 lead when Chris Kreider and Michael Zibanejad scored power-play goals.
Palat’s longtime linemate Tyler Johnson spoke highly of the last-minute hero’s mentality, which helped him stay calm and deliver the goal.
“It’s his mentality,” Johnson said. “He gives 100 percent every shift. He’s never nervous by any sort of play. It’s vintage Ondrej Palat. I think that’s what makes him special is he doesn’t get rattled like a lot of people, so he’s able to come through in those big situations. And then he’s a heck of a player, so he’s able to use that skill, as well.”
The Lighting responded with three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Stamkos tied the game early in the third period with a shot from the left circle.
The Rangers can still reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2014 with a victory in Game 4 on Tuesday night.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 5, 2022
Rangers’ two power-play goals
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves for the Lightning. Artemi Panarin had two assists, while Zibanejad and Fox recorded two assists. The Rangers were able to generate two power-play goals after getting penalized twice by Shesterkin.
The first penalty was called on Tampa Bay’s Cory Perry and the second one was on New York’s Riley Nash for interference. After the first, Kreider scored a power-play goal to give the Lightning a two-goal lead.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the team’s lack of urgency and poor management contributed to its slow start. The Lighting had a nine-day layoff after sweeping the Florida Panthers in the second round of the playoffs. On Sunday, they also failed to capitalize on their chances during their two-goal deficit against the Rangers.
The Rangers had a chance to regain the lead after a four-minute penalty was called on Nikita Kucherov for high-sticking Zibanejad. However, they lost the man advantage after Trouba was penalized for tripping Alex Killorn. Shesterkin made several saves to keep the Rangers in the game, but he failed to stop Palat’s winner.
The Tampa Bay Lightning managed to bounce back after losing consecutive playoff games for the first time in three years. They went on to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games.
The Lighting defeated the Florida Panthers, who were the best team in the league during the regular season. They then faced the Rangers in the second round.
After falling behind by three goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, the Rangers were able to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion. They then defeated the Carolina Hurricanes and reached the Eastern Conference finals.