Ondrej Palat’s sixth goal of the playoffs officially took the Lightning off life support and breathed new life into a team that desperately needed it.
Palat’s goal with 42 seconds to go in game three gave the Lightning a 3-2 win and got them back in the series against the New York Rangers.
Jon Cooper talked about the player Ondrej Palat in this series and the entire postseason. “Palat, we’ve seen this for years. He is a quiet kid. He doesn’t say anything. All he does is give you everything he has on every shift.”
Palat is a player who is overlooked and never talked about nationally but is one of the underrated stars in the Lightning room.
Pat Maroon summed it up perfectly. “I’ll call him a star in my eyes. He’s a big-time player who steps up in big-time moments, and that’s what stars do.”
The Lightning played their best game in the series in the game three win, and it will take the same amount of blood, sweat, and effort, to get another win tonight in game four.
The Lightning adopted a new concept in game three: to shoot the puck at the net. Good things happen when you are looking to shoot the puck first.
The Bolts peppered Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin with 54 shots as the Lightning scored with 42 seconds to play to get the 3-2 win.
In addition to the Palat goal, Nikita Kucherov had his best game in the series with a goal and two assists.
Now it’s on to game four in the series, where the Lightning has a record of 21-13 all-time in game four. With the 3-2 win, the Lightning has now won five games in a row at Amalie this postseason by 21-9.
Although skating four of the last five days, Braydon Point has been ruled out for game four. Jon Cooper gave an update on Point at the morning skate today. “I think when you start getting closer, maybe anticipation gets a little bit more, so hopefully there are no more setbacks, and we can see him at some point, but definitely not tonight. If it goes seven, optimism stays up, and if it’s a five-game series, it’s a little dicier. It’s just time. It’s going to take time.”
The Lightning will use the same lineup they used in the game three win against the Rangers.
The Rangers got banged up a bit in game three. Barclay Goodrow hobbled off after blocking a Victor Hedman shot, and Ryan Strome left the game after a hard check into the boards. Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said he expected both players to be available tonight.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will need to continue to play at the level he played at in game three for the Lightning to get another win.
When discussing what makes the playoff teams successful in the postseason, many think blocking shots, finishing your hits, and controlling the puck are the most important keys to success. They are important. But many forget about the play of the goaltender, and we have one of the best to ever play the game here in Tampa in Andrei Vasileviskiy.
There is no question that Rangers goalie Igor Shersterkin has outplayed Vasileviskiy so far in the series. But I expect another strong outing from Vasilevskiy tonight as the Lightning looks to even things up at 2-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.