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Lightning monitoring Elsa in planning return to Tampa

Win or lose Game 4, the team plans to return to Tampa on Tuesday. But that could change.
Family and friends cheer as the Lightning's plane arrives at Tampa International Airport the day after they won the 2020 Stanley Cup in September.
Family and friends cheer as the Lightning's plane arrives at Tampa International Airport the day after they won the 2020 Stanley Cup in September. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Jul. 4
Updated Jul. 4

TAMPA — The Lightning, who can win their second straight Stanley Cup with a victory in Game 4 Monday in Montreal, have not yet made any alterations to their travel plans as Tropical Storm Elsa approached the Florida peninsula late Sunday afternoon.

That could change. The situation is fluid, and the Lightning and the league are monitoring the development and movement of the storm.

Win or lose, the Lightning currently are planning to fly back to Tampa Tuesday morning. A tropical storm watch was issued for Tampa Bay on Sunday afternoon, meaning tropical storm conditions were expected in the next 36 hours.

The Lightning lead the best-of-seven series 3-0. Under terms of a deal the league worked out with the Canadian government to allow the teams to fly to Canada without mandatory quarantining, Tampa Bay is restricted to its team hotel and the arena.

“You never know what’s going to happen in the course of the game or a series, so we’re focused on our start next game,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “We want to come out extremely hard, and we realize both teams understand the situation that they’re in.

“We’re excited for the challenge, and all those things will take care of itself. Obviously, a couple wrinkles with the situation that we’re in here in Canada and then the storm back home. We want to make sure everyone’s safe, but at the same time this group is focused on the game.”

If necessary, Game 5 is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Amalie Arena.

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