Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman and winger Mikhail Sergachev and Ondrej Palat played a crucial role to turn the game in favor of their team in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche. The Lightning was trailing by 3-1 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final and was on the brink of elimination in Game 5. But the team turned their 3-1 streak to a 3-2 winning point as Sergachev and Palat took on the ice.
The crowd at Arena went bonkers as Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar tied it 2-2 at 2:31 in the third period as the momentum shifted towards Colorado. The Avalanche needed to take another step up for hoisting the Stanley Cup but Palat and Sergachev took the game in hand. Lightning defenceman Ryan McDonagh stated, “A huge turning point, for sure”.
Lightning takes back the lead in Game 5 of the Cup Final
Tampa Bay Lightning was leading from 1-0 with 3:24 seconds remaining in the first period when Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon tried to tie up the gap by jumping into a seam between Victor Headman and Mikhail Sergachev. But Sergachev took his stand and pushed him backward which caused a stir among the crowd and the Lightning team. Sergachev said, “When I sit on the bench and somebody makes a hit like that, it gets me going”. “So that’s all I can say. I hope it got our team going.”
Ondrej Palat is often known as “Sneaky P” for his skill of catching the opposition off-guard during critical moments, made his shot with 6:22 remaining which stunned the hall with silence and narrowed Avalanche’s lead in the series to 3-2. Lightning will get another chance in Game 6 at Amalie Park in Tampa on Sunday against the Avalanche to get their lead back in the best of the 7 series.
As noted on nhl.com, Palat commented, “We were pretty comfortable on the bench”. “We’re just saying, ‘Keep rolling and go hard on the forecheck and don’t back off,’ and we did it.” “We had a great shift and we scored on that.” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said, “Listen, obviously he’s scored a lot of big goals in his time in the playoffs”. “It’s pretty remarkable.”
Lightning coach Jon Cooper noted in regards to Sergachev’s accomplishment, “What is he, 23 years old, and he’s got two Stanley Cups”. “And the amount of playoff games he’s played at such a young age and to perform the very way he has, he’s just wise beyond his years.” Once again, Stamkos added, “Sneaky P found a way to put one in there”. “It was obviously a huge goal for us. We extend the season. That’s what we wanted to do.” “We talked about one game at a time and it was a grind, but we found a way. Great effort. We’ve got to do it again.”
As Game 5 comes to a close with both Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning with a 3-2 and 2-3, the teams are preparing for the massive playoff at Game 6 to take the best of 7 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. The winning champions are not going to stay still and let Avalanche bathe in the victory of the Cup. And that message was made clear during Game 5 of the Cup Final. Their lead sent a clear message to their opposing team: The Stanley Cup was in the building, but the Lightning was going to do everything in their power to keep the Avalanche from hoisting it.