Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche ended in a 3-2 Tampa Bay Lightning victory, with Ondrej Palat netting the game-winning goal at Ball Arena.
The game was still deadlocked at 2-2 in the third period when Palat scored his 11th goal of the playoffs, seven of which came in the period, on a fantastic pass from Victor Hedman on the other team’s defenseman.
His heroics at Amalie Arena in Tampa were widely hailed, as the Bolts battled back to force Game 6.
When it comes to producing in the postseason, Palat is no stranger. The 31-year-old forward had 92 points (47 goals, 45 assists) in 136 postseason games going into Friday’s game.
To put it another way, he had 18 points in 25 games during Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup run in 2020. This was followed up by a 13-point performance in 23 postseason games with the Bolts in 2021.
He was chosen by the Lightning seven rounds into the 2011 NHL draught, and since his debut in the 2012-13 season, Palat has been a mainstay of their lineup.
Now that the series has returned to Tampa Bay, the Bolts are counting on Palat to assist the club force a Game 7 and keep their prospects of winning the Stanley Cup for the third consecutive year alive
The Lightning and Avalanche will play Game 6 at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday. Colorado has a 3-2 lead in the series.
As Lightning coach Jon Cooper said during Game 5, “all I can say about Palat is that he plays with some of the top players in the world every year and he really doesn’t get talked about. When it comes to this line, he’s always the third guy mentioned, but if you ask the other two players on his line, they might talk about him the most.”
In 137 postseason appearances, Palat has scored 93 goals (48 goals, 45 assists). With 20 points, he’s tied for second on the squad this postseason. Even while he may not be the flashiest player, he’s an essential part of a Lightning team that’s on the verge of winning a third straight Stanley Cup without him.
Because of his hard work and dedication, Cooper stated, “He’s just doing his job. “There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about how much Palat has contributed to this organization. Ondrej Palat has been the subject of much discussion in the playoffs this season. It’s a remarkable achievement.”
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