Lightning Look will be the first team to win the Cup at home since 2015

No team has won the Stanley Cup on home ice since the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015

Tampa, Fla. – When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on home ice for the first time before World War II, John Cooper could not bear to watch the joyful latter.

“I’m looking away from the whole thing,” he said.

Cooper’s Tampa Bay Lightning lost the 2015 series in six games after their first trip to the finals three times in seven years. Even after winning it all in 2020, he clearly remembers the feeling of watching Chicago players celebrate the team’s first Cup-winning victory on home ice since 1938.

“There’s that excruciating minute or two you’ve got to spend the team celebrating,” Cooper said. “I think it’s a poignant moment in the game when it happens, respectfully, and then the captain has the honor on the winning team to rally his troops to shake hands.”

That was captain Steven Stamkos’ last job when Tampa Bay beat Dallas, even though he didn’t play in the clinching game. If he and the Lightning finish the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 Wednesday night or do in Game 7, Stamkos should have a fair chance to rally his teammates, and they will be the first team since Chicago to win the Cup at home. .

Since then each clinic has been on the road or at a neutral site.

Pittsburgh won San Jose in 2016 and Nashville in 2017. Washington became the first NHL team to party with the Cup in Las Vegas in 2018. St. Louis had a chance to win at home before winning in Boston in 2019, and then of course Tampa Bay did it last year in an empty arena in Edmonton.

The rare chance to do so is probably one reason why Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told the Lightning to lose Game 4 so they could win at home. His comments fluttered feathers among fans and others in hockey and his wish came true, though Tampa Bay was going all out to complete the sweep.

Cooper said, “Let me tell you, I think that any fan of any team, if you gave the choice or took your chance to win the Stanley Cup, I think the fan base would have loved it if we went with the Stanley Cup.” Come home,” Cooper said. Monday’s 3-2 overtime defeat kept the series going.

Now when they didn’t?

“It’s weird: Maybe it’s the way it was supposed to be, and that’s what he’s playing,” Cooper said. “But the two teams still have to play the game, and the game is settled in the trenches and hopefully we can give that gift to our fans.”

Veteran defenseman Ryan McDonagh took comfort in going home to Lightning “with a fan base from a place you’re familiar with”. Over 17,000 fans are allowed inside Amalie Arena, a far cry from anyone in Edmonton and 3,500 in Montreal.

“Our fans have been incredible throughout the season through the ups and downs, so it is always very special to be back in Amalie and play for our fans,” said center Anthony Cirelli. “And just one chance.”


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