* Ondrej Palat scored another late game-winning goal to register a first in NHL history and lift the defending champs to within one victory of their third consecutive berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
* Three of the Lightning’s victories in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs have come because of a go-ahead tally within the final two minutes of regulation – a feat only one other team in NHL history has accomplished in a single postseason.
* Andrei Vasilevskiy brought an end to both Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers’ franchise-record eight game home win streaks at Madison Square Garden en route to his 60th career playoff victory.
* While Tampa Bay inched closer to the championship series, a Stanley Cup Final spotlight lands on Colorado defenseman Cale Makar.
LIGHTNING SCORE ANOTHER LATE GO-AHEAD GOAL, MOVE WITHIN ONE WIN OF FINAL
After Ondrej Palat scored a late game-winning goal in Game 3 (59:18) to give the Lightning their first win of the Conference Finals, he deflected Mikhail Sergachev’s shot past Igor Shesterkin with 1:50 remaining in regulation to lift Tampa Bay to their third straight victory and within one of their third consecutive berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
* Palat became the first player in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to score multiple game-winning goals during the final two minutes of regulation in a single postseason. Four other players have accomplished the feat within the final five minutes of regulation: Daniel Alfredsson (2 in 2002 w/ OTT), Mark Recchi (2 in 1991 w/ PIT), Mats Naslund (2 in 1985 w/ MTL), and Doc Romnes (2 in 1938 w/ CHI).
* Prior to each of Palat’s two game-winning goals in this Conference Finals series, the Lightning also received a late go-ahead tally from Ross Colton (59:56) during Game 2 of the Second Round against the Panthers. Tampa Bay became the second team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to score three game-winning goals within the final two minutes of regulation in a single postseason, joining the 1995 Devils (Jim Dowd, 58:36 in Game 2 of SCF, Claude Lemieux, 59:15 in Game 5 of CF & Scott Stevens, 59:31 in Game 2 of CSF).
VASILEVSKIY OUTDUELS SHESTERKIN TO EARN 60TH CAREER PLAYOFF WIN
While both Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers entered the pivotal Game 5 with franchise-record eight game home win streaks in the postseason, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy (24 saves) helped the Lightning bring those stretches to a halt with his 60th career playoff win.
* Vasilevskiy, who’s allowed two or fewer goals in 47 of his 60 career playoff victories and one or fewer in 31 of those contests, required the fifth-fewest outings among goaltenders in NHL history to reach the benchmark.
STANLEY CUP FINAL SPOTLIGHT: CALE MAKAR
As the Avalanche await their opponent for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final we take a closer look at Cale Makar, who enters the championship series with a team-leading 22 points in 14 games (5-17—22).
* Makar, who earlier this year required the fewest games to 50 career postseason points by a defenseman since Brian Leetch in 1994, looks to join rare company should he continue at his pace and help Colorado hoist the Cup. Only five blueliners in NHL history have led a Stanley Cup champion in scoring outright at the end of a postseason, with Leetch (11-23—34 in 1994 w/ NYR), Al MacInnis (7-24—31 in 1989 w/ CGY), J.C. Tremblay (2-9—11 in 1966 w/ MTL), Tim Horton (3-13—16 in 1962 w/ TOR) and Pierre Pilote (3-12—15 in 1961 w/ CHI) the only ones to do so to date.
* The Avalanche defenseman has averaged 1.57 points per game played in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the highest such total among players remaining. Only four other defensemen in NHL history have entered the Stanley Cup Final registering at least 1.50 points per game played (min. 15 points): Paul Coffey (2.00 P/GP in 1985 w/ EDM), Larry Robinson (1.67 P/GP in 1978 w/ MTL), Brad Park (1.67 P/GP in 1978 w/ BOS) and Bobby Orr (1.78 in 1972 & 1.50 in 1970 w/ BOS).
* Makar has led the Avalanche on the ice in more ways than just his offensive production during this quest for the Stanley Cup, logging 27:05 time on ice per game played. It marks the highest such total among remaining players and slightly more than the next closest (Adam Fox: 26:42 TOI/GP).