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Ondrej Palat scored the winning goal with 1:50 remaining as the Lightning edged the Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
The win snapped New York’s eight-game home winning streak and gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead in a series it once trailed 2-0.
A victory Saturday in Game 6 will put the Lightning into the Stanley Cup Final for a third consecutive season.
The game-winner originally was credited to Mikhail Sergachev but was changed after the game to Palat, as Sergachev’s wrist shot from the right point hit Palat on its way into the net. It was Palat’s second late winning goal over the past three games.
Sergachev, who received an assist on the play, also scored late in the second period to tie the game at 1.
Brandon Hagel sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 59 seconds remaining.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 24 of 25 shots to win for the third straight game.
Here’s how it happened:
Brandon Hagel wrist shot saved by Igor Shesterkin
Ryan Lindgren slap shot saved by Andrei Vasilevskiy
Frank Vatrano shoots wide from low in the right circle
Ryan McDonagh leaves for Lightning dressing room after colliding with Chris Kreider
Zach Bogosian skates to the bench doubled over in pain
Jan Rutta shot from right point saved by Shesterkin
Tyler Motte and Nikita Kucherov get tangled up, and Steven Stamkos joins the scrum
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare powers his way to net, puck covered by Shesterkin
Pat Maroon shot from slot blocked by Jacob Trouba
Maroon wraparound chance saved by Shesterkin
Lindgren down in right circle after blocking a shot
Cirelli drives to the front of the net
Centering pass for Corey Perry picked off
Bogosian back on the ice
Sergachev misses net with shot from slot
Nick Paul shot deflected by Trouba
Ryan Strome wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Adam Fox wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Lindgren shuffles puck to front of the net, but Vasilevskiy spreads out to keep it out of the net
Kevin Rooney shot snatched out of the air by Vasilevskiy after turnover in Lightning zone
Mika Zibanejad shot blocked by Stamkos
Copp just misses connecting with Strome in front of the Lightning net as Bogosian goes down to the ice to alter the timing of the play
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Vasilevsky makes left pad save on Vatrano backhand shot
McDonagh is back on the ice
Rooney collides with Stamkos
Miller shot from left point hits Rutta and goes into the corner
LIGHTNING GOAL! Sergachev wrist shot from right point goes through Kreider and off Palat into the net. Lightning 2, Rangers 1.
Rangers pull Shesterkin for an extra attacker
LIGHTNING GOAL! Hagel scores into an empty net in the final minute. Lightning 3, Rangers 1.
Steven Stamkos and Alexis Lafreniere fight after the final buzzer
(Lightning win 3-1, take 3-2 series lead)
Chris Kreider shot deflected into the corner by Erik Cernak
Igor Shesterkin stops Ondrej Palat shot from the right circle on 3-on-2, then cleans up the rebounds
Tyler Motte shot from right circle saved by Andrei Vasileveskiy
Braden Schneier penalized for hooking Ondrej Palat, who got outside of him, and Lightning get their first power play
Pat Maroon has a chance from in front after Mikhail Sergachev shot from left point
Nick Paul misses pass for Ross Colton and puck leaves the zone
Nikita Kucherov one-timer from low in right circle saved by Shesterkin
Victor Hedman loses the puck and it goes out of the zone
Hedman wrist shot from center point doesn’t get to the net
Rangers kill the penalty; Lightning had two shots on the power play
Cernak drive grabbed by Shesterkin
Mika Zibanejad misses the net after Lightning turnover
Kreider blast saved by Vasilevskiy
Lindgren shot from point blocked up high and Alex Killorn nearly has a breakaway
Lightning penalized for too many men on the ice (Cernak was still on the ice as Rutta was coming on)
Adam Fox breaks his stick on shot from center point and then has to defend shorthanded break without a stick. Shesterkin stops Anthony Cirelli, who drives the right side of the net
Fox shot from point turned aside by Vasilevskiy
Trouba blast from center point broken up
Lightning kill the penalty; Rangers got one shot on power play
RANGERS GOAL: Lindgren beats Vasilevskiy high on the blocker side with a sharp-angle shot from up just inside the left-side boards. Ondrej Palat got caught up ice, and Lindgren intercepted Zach Bogosian’s pass around the boards behind the net. Rangers 1, Lightning 0.
K’Andre Miller penalized for hooking Corey Perry
Andrew Copp misses wide on shortside on shorthanded breakaway
Shesterkin makes pad save on Hedman shot from the point
Motte shoots the puck out of the zone
Nick Paul puts a shot on net from the left side but Rangers clear it out of the zone
Rangers kill the penalty; Lightning had two shots on the power play
Panarin shot from the left circle through Cernak’s legs saved by Vasilevskiy, nearly beating him on the short side
Cirelli misses the net from the left circle off the rush
Vasilevskiy gloves long-range turnaround shot by Motte
LIGHTNING GOAL! Mikhail Sergachev scores from just inside the blue line, through the legs of Kevin Rooney past Shesterkin (2:25 remaining). Lightning 1, Rangers 1.
(Lightning, Rangers tied 1-1 after two periods)
Brandon Hagel shoots wide of the net
Nikita Kucherov shot from left circle hits the post after cross-corner dump pass from Steven Stamkos
Braden Schneider drive goes off Andrei Vasilevskiys arm and out of play
Jacob Trouba shot blocked
Ryan Lindgren closes off Kucherov along the right wall
K’Andre Miller slides to break up 2-on-1 between Zach Bogosian and Steven Stamkos
Alex Killorn shot from left point blocked by Adam Fox in slot
Victor Hedman dump-in gloved by Igor Shesterkin
Mika Zibanejad misses high on the short side from the left circle
Bogosian drive saved by Shesterkin
Artemi Panarin backhand shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Chris Kreider hits Riley Nash
Kreider wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Filip Chytil tip wide of the net after backdoor pass from Kaapo Kakko
Mika Zibanejad wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Panarin shot blocked by Hagel, rebound attempt goes wide
Schneider shot from right circle blocked by Ross Colton
Nick Paul hits the post from top of the slot off the rush
Riley Nash wrist shot from slot swallowed by Shesterkin
Jan Rutta one-timer from just inside the blue line deflected in front
Colton turnaround shot caught and held by Shesterkin
Vasilevskiy stops Trouba from the right circle, then Panarin and Chytil from in close
Ondrej Palat breaks up LaFreniere circle-to-circle pass for Kakko on 2-on-1
Pat Maroon drives the net, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s shot goes over the net
Trouba shot grabbed by Vasilevskiy
(Lightning, Rangers tied 0-0 after one period)
Pregame scouting report
Recognize this team now?
After an uncharacteristically sloppy start to the Eastern Conference final in which giveaways led to odd-man breaks and prime scoring opportunities for the Rangers, the Lightning seem to have rediscovered their game.
Just in the nick of time.
After falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven series and yielding the first two goals of Game 3, Tampa Bay was in jeopardy of falling to within one loss of playoff elimination.
Instead, the Lightning came roaring back to win the past two games and now can move to within one victory of clinching the series and advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for a third consecutive season with a win tonight in Game 5.
More like business as usual for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Lightning understand their game better than anyone and felt like they were getting close to it in the second half of Game 2. They know their recipe works, so playing their way back into the series was just a matter of getting back to doing the things that have been successful for them the past two postseasons.
They never lost confidence, even after falling to 0-5 against the Rangers, including the regular season. Beating them was largely a matter of cleaning up their breakouts, eliminating the risky east-west passes that led to turnovers, getting pucks behind New York’s defense and using their forecheck to generate increased time in the offensive zone.
The Anthony Cirelli line neutralized the Mika Zibanejad line in 5-on-5 play by forcing it to spend the majority of time defending in its own end, and the Lightning solved Vezina Trophy finalist Igor Shesterkin by increasing their shot volume, taking away the goaltender’s eyes and getting under his skin. They also did a better job of staying out of the penalty box.
Now, the Lightning have to find a way to win for the first time at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers have won eight straight.
This late into a series, it’s less about tactics than will and execution. These teams know everything there is to know about one another. Trust its process, take care of the puck, play to its capabilities, and Tampa Bay should give itself a chance to compete for a third straight Cup. Anything less than that, and it likely will find itself on the outside looking in.
Follow our live updates, starting at 8 p.m., as the Lightning hope to move ahead for the first time in the series and push the Rangers to the brink of elimination.
Game night scene
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