Bolts fans thrilled to be back inside Amalie Arena for playoff hockey

Posted at 10:53 PM, May 20, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Despite a tough loss in overtime Thursday, Lighting fans were thrilled to be back inside Amalie Arena for playoff hockey.

“It’s definitely a different level of play in the playoffs,” said Victoria Sierra.

Game 3 marked the first playoff hockey game played inside Amalie since April 2019.

“It’s everything,” said Timothy Keaton. “You feel more electricity when you get the fans cheering on the Bolts in person.”

Last year, the pandemic forced the Lightning to play the postseason in a bubble north of the border.

Fans returned to Amalie Arena after taking on the “Distant Thunder” role last season.

“This is phenomenal,” said Jay Markey. “The environment is fantastic tonight and just the chill of the atmosphere, it’s just so fantastic.”

According to the Lightning, 9,500 fans attended Thursday’s game and about 700 fans watched from Thunder Alley.

Fans will return to Amalie Arena for Game 4 Saturday. The puck drops at 12:30 p.m.