TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s a huge night for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they look to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s a do-or-die Game 7 against the New York Islanders, and the fans could play a key role as we have home-ice advantage.
“All of the above. Every emotion. Happy, sad, freaked out, frustrated, excited,” one fan told 8 On Your Side.
It’s been a heck of a ride so far for the Lightning and the fans in this playoff run.
The Bolts were leading Game 6 when the Islanders tied it up in the third period 2-2, sending the match-up into overtime. With a final score, New York sent the Lightning to the locker room with their heads hanging low.
A tough loss on the ice and a tough loss earlier in the night when Nikita Kucherov went to the locker room with an injury. Head coach Jon Cooper did not have an update on whether Kuch will play Friday night.
“Every team in the league will tell you you lose players, you gain players, and your lineup changes all of the time,” said Cooper. “Is it ideal when you are playing the final four and when you are playing against the best teams in the league not to have your full lineup? No. But it opens doors for guys.”
The hope is for a recharge, and a lot of that energy will be coming from the fans. Amalie Arena will have over 14,000 fans in attendance.
The Islanders will feel the thunder on this ice and be reminded of the whooping they got last time they played in Tampa.
Game 7 starts at 8 p.m.