In what turned out to be a defensive battle, the Tampa Bay Lightning received a goal from winger Ondrej Palat with just under two minutes remaining to lift them to a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning now own a 3-2 series lead despite dropping the first two games of the series.
It also marked the third consecutive game in which Palat has scored a goal
With 1:50 remaining, Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev snapped a shot from the blue line that made its way past a host of traffic in front and beat Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin. While the goal was originally credited to Sergachev, Palat got a piece of the puck on its way into the net and he was credited with the tally.
Over the past three games, Palat has registered three goals and two assists, which includes a three-point performance in Tuesday’s Game 4 victory.
After a scoreless first period, the Rangers opened the scoring courtesy of defenseman Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren scored from the boards and was able to flip the puck right over goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s blocker. Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian was attempting to clear the zone, but Lindgren was able to pinch on the play and score through the traffic to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead midway through the second period.
It was Lindgren’s second goal of the postseason and his first in the Eastern Conference Final. The Rangers defenseman last scored in Game 5 of the team’s opening round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sergachev, who was incredibly active throughout Game 5, scored the game-tying goal to knot the contest 1-1 at the 17:34 mark of the second period. The Lightning defenseman shot one through the legs of Rangers forward Kevin Rooney and the puck somehow got past Shesterkin for the second strange tally of the evening.
Prior to Game 5, Sergachev had just four assists throughout the entire postseason. The veteran defenseman finished Thursday’s pivotal contest with a goal and an assist.
Now the Lightning will have a chance to advance to the the Stanley Cup Final for a third consecutive season on their home ice in Game 6, which will take place on Saturday. Tampa Bay has a 8-2 all-time record when leading 3-2 in a best-of-seven series. In addition, they’re attempting to erase a 0-2 series deficit in a conference final for the second time in franchise history.