This guy just continues to come up big for the Bolts.
Ondrej Palat scored with 6:22 left in the third period and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Friday night in Colorado to win Game 5 & send the series back to Tampa.
The Avalanche's lead in the series is now 3-2 and Game 6 will be Sunday night at Amalie Arena.
Following some good puck movement from the Lightning, Victor Hedman found Palat in the high slot & he rifled a one-timer through Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper to give Tampa Bay a lead they would not relinquish.
That was Palat's 11th goal this postseason and 12th career playoff game-winner.
The Lightning opened up the scoring in the first period and it came from a very unlikely source.
Flying down the right wing, Jan Rutta fired a shot that beat Kuemper to the short side for his first goal of the playoffs to give the Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 15:23.
The Lightning maintained a one-goal lead into the first intermission, but the Avalanche tied it up at 5:07 of the 2nd.
After a questionable icing call that put the faceoff in the Tampa Bay zone, Valeri Nichushkin found a rebound of a Cale Makar shot and backhanded it in to tie it up 1-1.
Three minutes and three seconds later the Lightning re-took the lead, and wouldn't you know it, it came on the man-advantage.
After coincidental minors to JT Compher & Alex Killorn and then a tripping call to Makar, Nikita Kucherov took a feed from Steven Stamkos & blasted a one-timer past Kuemper to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead; only their second power play goal in the series.
Colorado was able to tie the game up early in the third period in Game 4, and they did the exact same thing in Game 5.
A point shot from Makar went off the skate of Erik Cernak, who was battling with Nichushkin in front, and through the legs of Vasilevskiy to tie the game at two just 2:31 into the 3rd.
Even though that Makar goal gave the Ball Arena crowd some life, the Lightning continued to play their game & stuck to their gameplan until Palat scored the game-winner.
Kuemper made 26 saves in defeat for the Avalanche.
- Tampa Bay - Rutta - (Perry, Sergachev) - 15:23
- Colorado - Nichushkin - (Makar, MacKinnon) - 5:07
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Kucherov - (Stamkos, Perry) - 8:10
- Colorado - Makar - (Toews, Nichushkin) - 2:31
- Tampa Bay - Palat - (Hedman, Sergachev) - 13:38
- Colorado - Compher - (High Sticking) - 3:13
- Colorado - Kadri - (Hooking) - 6:58
- Tampa Bay - Stamkos - (Tripping) - 11:17
- Tampa Bay - Killorn - (Holding) - 6:27
- Colorado - Compher - (Holding the Stick) - 6:27
- Colorado - Makar - (Tripping) - 6:58
- Tampa Bay - Colton - (High Sticking) - 16:17
- Colorado - TEAM - (Too Many Men) - 17:17
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning are back in action on Sunday night as they face the Avalanche in Game 6 of this Stanley Cup Final matchup. Puck drop is slated for 8:00pm with the pregame show starting at 7:00pm on NewsRadio WFLA & Lightning Power Play on the iHeartRadio app.
PHOTO : Getty Images