The Tampa Bay Lightning were in an 0-2 hole after the first two games of their Eastern Conference Final series with the New York Rangers. But the two-time defending champions refused to panic, and they are now ahead in the series through five games, riding two late goals on Thursday night to win 3-1 and take a 3-2 series advantage back home for Game 6.
They rode adversity in this contest like they have in the last couple of years, but they handled it so well, responding to the Rangers’ opening goal with aplomb. Ryan Lindgren scored for New York midway through the second period, and the Lightning came back when Mikhail Sergachev scored his first goal of the postseason at the most opportune time about seven minutes later. That would conclude all of the scorings until very late in the day when Ondrej Palot, the hero of the series scored the winner with 1:50 remaining. Brandon Hagel then eased into an empty netter with 59 seconds left to seal the deal. Tampa now will get to head home and try to close it out as they seek a third straight Stanley Cup Final appearance. As for the Rangers, they have been here before and came out of it, but that also wasn’t against two-time champs, either.