Palat leads Lightning assault on Columbus

by Gary Shelton on January 4, 2022

in general

Palat had a strong performance./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

There have been bigger stars than him. There have Been flashier players. If you are carving the Mount Rushmore of the Tampa Bay Lightning, his face isn't up there.

In his own way, however, Ondrej Palat has left his mark.

Palat scored two goals and passed the 400-mark for his career on Tuesday night, pacing the Bolts to a 7-2 clobbering of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The victory ended a three-game losing streak in which the team allowed 17 goals.

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Palat scored his two goals in the first 10 minutes to play and the Bolts were never challenged.

"Four hundred points for a kid who went through the draft twice. (and was) a late seventh-round pick," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s going to go down as one of the gems in the history of the Lighting. He's been so important for us in so many ways that don’t show up in the scoresheet. I'm extremely happy for him, the blood, sweat and tears he’s put into this organization. He's a class act and a hell of a hockey player.

"You look at teams that win, those are the guys you remember. "He’s going to go down as one of the top players who ever was a Bolt. You win championships with guys like Palat. Without him, we don’t win these cups"

The Bolts snapped their losing streak with an effort to push the pace of the game. They also benefitted from a second game on the ice for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who earned his 18th win.

Also scoring for the the Bolts were Corey Perry, Brayden Point, Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare, Pat Maroon and Alex Killorn. It matched the team's season high for goals scored.

"The guys were ticked off a little about the Rangers' game," Cooper said. "There were a lot of other factors. The guys coming back -- it's a tough league to miss games and have to jump in. I know these guys well enough to know we were going to come back."

The Bolts are home at Amalie Arena on Thursday night to face Calgary. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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