TAMPA — The Lightning have tried to make Amalie Arena a second home for their fans during this season’s Stanley Cup run by allowing them inside the venue to watch the team play on the road.
The team is expected to do the same Monday night — rain or shine, thanks to Tropical Storm Elsa. And with the potential for Tampa Bay to clinch a second straight Cup, the party has sold out.
The Lightning lead the best-of-seven series against the Canadiens 3-0 and will have the first of four chances to end the series in Game 4 Monday at Bell Centre in Montreal.
After hosting around 2,000 fans for the opening-round watch parties, the Lightning had 13,752 in attendance for Friday’s 6-3 win in Game 3. It is expecting close to 16,000 for Monday’s gathering.
“I’ve watched other teams’ jerseys be fairly prominent in our arena to now you really have to find one,” Cooper said. “When I first got here, it always felt like Tampa was everybody’s second-favorite team, because somebody was from somewhere else and that was their team and (until) they got knocked out, we would be the second-favorite. But now it feels like we’re everybody’s favorite team.
“The town is a sports town. It is a passionate (area) from the Lightning to the Bucs to the Rays. It’s a unique situation of camaraderie between not only the athletes and the franchises, but the fans and there’s a lot of pride in the town, and I’m proud to be proud to be part of it.”
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