TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It was electric inside Amalie Arena as the clock ran out giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a lead to start off the Stanley Cup series. Now fans can’t wait for Game 2.
It was quite a night on the ice as the Lightning took care of the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-1 win, waiting no more than seven minutes before scoring their first goal of the night. Erick Cernak, Yanni Gourde and team captain Steven Stamkos each scored while Nikita Kucherov scored twice.
It was good to have Kuch back on the ice after a season where he spent a lot of time healing and recuperating.
“It was tough mentally to not be able to play, but it’s all in the past, and I’m enjoying the moment and happy to be with the boys, and I’m excited to play in the finals,” said Kucherov.
The Bolts blue was too much for the team from up north. Coach Jon Cooper talked about consistency and making sure they stuck to their plan all night.
“We just take it. We take tonight. We bottle it up. We’re happy we won, and then we’ll move on to the next one, and hopefully we can have the same consistent effort,” said Coach Cooper.
Fans got plenty loud inside the arena; more than 16,000 in this game. The Lightning organization has steadily been increasing the fan attendance as more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and more people get vaccinated. For the players, hearing and seeing the fans in the seats is huge.
“I think from the moment we stepped on the ice and the last minute where everyone was standing, I think our fans were phenomenal tonight and gave us momentum, gave us wind. We were flying because of them. I think it makes the game so much more fun having fans in the building compared to last year in the bubble,” said Yanni Gourde with the Lightning.
The Lightning are back on the ice at Amalie on Wednesday at 8 p.m., where many fans are hoping for another win.