Palat’s goal Keeps Tampa Bay Alive
A pair of mainstays on the back-to-back Stanley Cup championship teams delivered in a big way for the Tampa Bay Lightning to extend the Stanley Cup Final.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, who hasn’t played nearly as well on the road in the postseason as he has at home, stopped 35 of 37 shots while Ondrej Palat added to his franchise record with his 12th game-winning goal in the playoffs as Tampa Bay topped Colorado 3-2 Friday to send the NHL championship series back to Tampa.
The last time Colorado won the Stanley Cup, the Avalanche won twice on the road including a victory in Game 6 against New Jersey. That set up a winner-take-all Game 7. This time, a victory by Colorado would wrap up the championship.
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay’s top goal-scorer during the 2020 and 2021 runs to the Stanley Cup title, missed his second game in a row while Andre Burakovsky, one of two Colorado players who previously played on a Stanley Cup team, missed the contest for the Avalanche.
Colorado is 3-2 in elimination games in this year’s playoffs with four of those five games decided by one goal. Tampa Bay is 3-0 in those contents. The Lightning survived two elimination games in the first round of the playoffs against Toronto winning Game 6 in overtime by a 4-3 score and taking Game 7 with a 2-1 win.
Tampa Bay has outscored its opponents 37-21 to put up an 8-2 record at home in the playoffs. Colorado is 8-1 on the road and averages 4.56 goals per game.
According to the NHL playoff odds, the series price for the favored Avalanche has moved from -1400 to -420 after Game 4. Tampa Bay’s odds went from +800 to +340.
Avalanche Hoping To End Things on the Road
The Colorado Avalanche hopes that when they return home, their fans will be in a case of joy after the franchise won the Stanley Cup title with a Game 6 victory on the road.
Colorado had more shots and hits in Game 5. However, it could not seal the deal as a goal by Palat with 6:22 left in the third period lifted the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
Colorado has played incredibly well on the road throughout the playoffs.
Cale Makar, who recently won his first Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, leads all players with 14 assists and 16 points on the road during this year’s postseason. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each have 10 points each while Nazem Kadri has six goals and nine points in seven road contests. He also has a defensive rating of +8.
Kadri has yet to take a faceoff in the two games since he returned from a thumb injury that required surgery. Kadri led the Avalanche in faceoffs taken and won during the regular season. His absence in that department is noticeable. Colorado was -6 in that department in Game 5.
The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in four of Colorado’s last six games.
Palat Does it Again
There were 118 forwards selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft before the Tampa Bay Lightning picked Palat in the seventh round. It will go down as one of the smartest decisions in franchise history.
Palat has more points in the playoffs (93) than all but 30 of the forwards taken ahead of him have registered in the regular season. Palat is at his best when the game is on the line.
Palat has scored 11 goals in the 2022 playoffs with five of them putting Tampa Bay in front and another tying the game. Seven of his goals have come in the third period, the most of any player. Three of those ended up being the game-winner. He scored with 42 seconds left in the third period in Game 3 against the New York Rangers, did the same thing with 1:50 to play in Game 5 and then snapped a 2-2 tie with 6:22 remaining in Friday’s game.
Ondrej Palat's go-ahead goal is his 11th of the postseason, T-3rd most in the 2022 playoffs.
7 of them have come in the third period, most of any player. pic.twitter.com/clH77dZT6h
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 25, 2022
His 12 game-winning goals in the postseason not only rank first in Tampa Bay franchise history, it ties him for 27th in NHL playoff history. Bryan Trottier, Steve Yzerman and Phil Esposito are among the players with who he is tied.
Palat leads Tampa Bay with three goals in the Stanley Cup Final. He has eight goals and six assists in 22 career games in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The NHL betting lines total has gone under in 11 of Tampa Bay’s last 16 games.
Avalanche vs Lightning Head-to-Head
Six of the last eight games between the teams have been decided by one goal with Colorado winning four. Colorado has won three of its last four games played in Tampa including a 3-2 win in Game 4 of this series.
Seven of eight games in the series had at least seven combined goals before the last two contests each finished with 3-2 final scores.
Colorado hasn’t lost consecutive games to Tampa Bay since 2018
Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper is 1-1 with a 4.07 goals-against average and a save percentage of .885 in two games at Tampa Bay in the series. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is 1-1 with a 2.27 GAA and a .934 save percentage at home in the series.
Avalanche vs Lightning Game Information
- Game: Avalanche (71-23-7 counting the playoffs) vs Lightning (65-31-8)
- Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa
- Day/Time: Sunday, 8:15 p.m. ET
- Live Stream: NHL TV
Avalanche vs Lightning Betting Lines
Colorado Avalanche -1½ +210 -115 6 +105o 2½ -150o 2½ +110u
Tampa Bay Lightning +1½ -250 -105 6 -125u 2½ -135o 2½ -105u
Avalanche vs Lightning Prediction
The team with more power-play goals emerged victorious in four of the first five games in the series so that could play a key role once again in Game 6. Colorado has been the more efficient of the teams with the man advantage with 6 goals in 15 opportunities compared to Tampa Bay going 2 for 18.
There have been 17 power-play opportunities in the three games won by Colorado and 16 in the two wins by Tampa Bay so the Lightning will be fine if this is a penalty-filled affair.
It seems likely few of those who bet online had Valeri Nichushkin leading Colorado with four goals in the Stanley Cup Finals. Unlikely scoring stars tend to emerge in the playoffs and Nichushkin has filled that role rather admirably.
This has the makings of another tight affair likely to be decided in the third period. The six-goal total has held up in each of the last two games so perhaps a third straight 3-2 final score is in the cards.