Lightning players expect Amalie Arena to be ‘rocking’ with increased fans in stands


Tampa Bay Lightning’s Alex Killorn, center, celebrates his goal with Mikhail Sergachev, left, of Russia, and Anthony Cirelli during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Monday, April 19, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – While the majority of the world is breathing a collective sigh of relief thanks to the creation and the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, sports fans have another reason to cheer.

With restrictions slowly dissolving, on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning organization announced it will allow 9,000 fans inside Amalie Arena for Game 3 against the Florida Panthers.

Lightning forward Alex Killorn commented on the new development on Thursday.

“I look forward to it,” he said, “the excitement, that nervous energy. If anything, it gives you more energy to play so I look forward to the fans.”

He added he feels the ferocity on the ice is fueled, in part, by those fans in the stands. The two teams combined for 90 hits in Game 1 and 79 hits in Game 2.

“I think it is more physical this playoffs than last at least a little bit. I think, when you get the crowd reaction after a big hit, it makes guys hit people more often,” said Killorn, “and, then, that energy kind of goes throughout the lineup so we are excited to have fans. I know Amalie is going to be rocking tonight.”

“I think we are all excited,” added Lightning forward Ondrej Palat “We need to just play like we did in Game 1 and Game 2, don’t change anything, and just play good hockey.”

The Lightning defeated the Panthers in front of Panthers fans in Sunrise in the first two games of this series.

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