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NHL - US Sports: Palat earns Lightning spotlight

Coach Jon Cooper spoke highly of 'unsung hero' Ondrej Palat after his late game-winning goal put the Tampa Bay Lightning right back on track in their attempt to win a third Stanley Cup in a row. 

The Lightning, 17/4 to three-peat as Stanley Cup Champions beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday, cutting the series deficit to 2-1.

What: New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Western Conference Finals Game 4

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa

When: 01:00, Wednesday 8th June, 2022

How to watch: TNT or bet365 Live Stream

Odds: NY Rangers 8/5, TB Lightning 5/9

Now eyeing up turning the best-of-seven series around, Palat scored the game-winning goal with 42 seconds remaining to pass Tyler Johnson (now of Chicago Blackhawks) for most game-winners in Lightning playoff history (10).

In the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Bolts won the second Stanley Cup in franchise history, 31-year-old Palat scored three game-winning goals and went on to add two game-winners in the playoffs last year.

In 14 post-season games this season, Palat has 10 points (six goals, four assists) helping the Lightning past the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers.

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Long-serving soldier

Over ten seasons with the Lightning on his chest, Palat has scored 43 playoff goals, the second-most in Tampa Bay franchise history. His 83 points which includes 40 assists both rank fourth. 

In addition, his plus-29 playoff rating is tied with Nikita Kucherov for best in franchise history. 

Cooper said to the media: "Palat, we've seen this for years… He's played up and down the line-up, but he's got that ability to play that blue collar game with white collar players and that's a great trait to have. 

"He's been doing it in his career and he's usually the third guy talked about on the lines he plays on, but he comes through with the statistics you just banged out now.

"It's much deserved and all his linemates would say the same thing."

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