Ondrej Palat played hero for the Tampa Bay Lightning once again Friday night as he scored the game-winning goal in a 3-2 Game 5 victory against the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final at Ball Arena.
With Friday's game tied 2-2 a little past the midway point of the third period, Palat found the back of the net for his 11th goal of the playoffs, seven of which have come in the third period, thanks to a perfect pass from defenseman Victor Hedman.
Palat was praised for his heroics as the Bolts hung on to force a Game 6 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
Hockey Reference @hockey_ref
Ondřej Palát is just the fifth player since 1995 with at least 7 third-period goals in a single postseason.<a href="https://twitter.com/TBLightning?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TBLightning</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBolts?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBolts</a> <a href="https://t.co/RSjSHFv5Sl">pic.twitter.com/RSjSHFv5Sl</a>
Brent Axe @BrentAxeMedia
Palat has been such a force for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBolts?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBolts</a> during this playoff. He epitomizes how this team plays. As Gene Hackman said in “The Replacements” “Miles and Miles of Heart” <a href="https://t.co/3zF5anpTD9">https://t.co/3zF5anpTD9</a>
Sportsnet Stats @SNstats
Most career postseason game-winning goals among active players<br><br>Joe Pavelski 14<br>Evgeni Malkin 13<br>Ondrej Palat 12<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBolts?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBolts</a> <a href="https://t.co/Xn6xdn0vJm">pic.twitter.com/Xn6xdn0vJm</a>
This type of postseason production is nothing new from Palat. Entering Friday's game, the 31-year-old had notched 47 goals and 45 assists for 92 points in 136 playoff games.
During Tampa Bay's 2020 Stanley Cup run, Palat tallied 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points in 25 games. He followed that up with five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 23 playoff games during the Bolts' 2021 Cup run.
The Lightning selected Palat in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL draft, and he has been a staple in the lineup since making his debut during the 2012-13 campaign.
With the series set to shift back to Tampa Bay, the Bolts will be hoping Palat can help the team force a Game 7 and keep their hopes of winning the Stanley Cup for the third straight season alive.
Game 6 between the Lightning and Colorado is set for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Colorado leads the series 3-2.