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Palat scores twice, Lightning defeat Oilers

by Corey Long / NHL.com

TAMPA -- Ondrej Palat scored two third-period goals, including the go-ahead goal at 11:59, to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

The Lightning (28-14-4) have won six in a row at home and eight of the past 11 overall.

Palat's 11th goal came when he sent a wrist shot past Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom and high over the stick of goalie Ben Scrivens off of a centering pass from Tyler Johnson.

"Palat brings so many things to the table for us each night," Johnson said. "It seems like he can do it all on both ends of the ice. Tonight, he brought the goals and we needed them."

Johnson was doubtful for the game Thursday after wearing a no-contact jersey during the morning skate, but he said he felt good enough to go after the pregame skate.

"I wanted to play, I wasn't sure of the plan for me but I wanted to go if I could," Johnson said. "I love being out there with the guys on my line because we are playing so well together right now."

Palat tied the game 2-2 at 1:33 of the third period when he collected a loose puck off a shot by forward Nikita Kucherov and sent a shot past Scrivens.

"Our first two periods our energy level wasn't there," Palat said. "We were a little sloppy, we didn’t go to the net, we didn’t shoot enough, and that was the difference in the third. … We were on, had good energy and were hitting guys. We have to play with a little swag and we did that in the third."

Edmonton (10-26-9) has not won a game on the road since Nov. 9 (14 games).

"Even in the third period, I thought we still had a few chances," Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "I don't think we got totally dominated. There were a couple of stretches there where we couldn’t get the puck out, but other than that I thought we played pretty solid in the third. We’ve got to find a way to limit the big mistakes and I think we’ll be fine after that."

The Oilers took 1-0 lead at 13:52 of the first period when forward Benoit Pouliot scored his ninth goal of the season, and sixth in the past four games. With the Lightning on a power play, Nugent-Hopkins gathered a loose puck and beat defenseman Anton Stralman to the net. Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop saved Nugent-Hopkins' shot, but Pouliot was there for the easy follow up.

Lightning center Steven Stamkos tied the game at 7:10 of the second period with his 26th goal. He beat Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz to the net and scored on a shot that went over Scrivens' shoulder.

"We were completely outplayed the first two periods," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We gave up a shorthanded goal; we passed up a lot of shots and didn't get pucks to the net. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight and they had us on our heels. Maybe the way they played made us do that."

Edmonton took a 2-1 lead with 58 seconds remaining in the second period on Pouliot's second of the game. The wing's first shot was saved, but the loose puck deflected off the skate of Tampa Bay defenseman Jason Garrison and tricked past Bishop.

"I thought we had a lot of opportunities on our side," Pouliot said. "So it was a back-and-forth game. You could see both teams wanted to score and put the other team away early. They just got a good one at the end and we couldn’t tie it up late."

Bishop made 30 saves for the Lightning, who will host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. The Oilers will stay on the road to play the Florida Panthers.

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