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Tampa Bay and Montreal rivalry goes beyond Stanley Cup

Montreal fans want Tampa Bay's Cup, baseball team too
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Posted at 5:21 PM, Jun 30, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The Lightning has nowhere near the history compared to the Canadians, but right now is about the present.

And those from Montreal say there's no longer the perception Tampa Bay can't support hockey.

"The fact that they are going for back-to-back Cups if it hasn't changed by now, that should change it," said Matt Drake.

Drake runs HabsEyesonthePrize.com.

"My father made sure I was a Habs fan from birth," he said.

Drake says his Canadian counterparts are taking notice of what's happening at Thunder Alley.

"There's a big contingent of fans out there, and for sure it looks like that market is growing, and it has to help that they compete every year and are a legitimate Stanley Cup threat."

Renaud Lavoie covers hockey for TVA Sports.

He agrees Bolts nation has earned respect from those North of the Border.

"I think everything changed in 2004 when the Lighting won the Cup with Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Vinny Lecavalier guys that are from Quebec," Lavoie said.

While the Stanley Cup is all about hockey, these two markets are also connected by baseball.

Amid the stadium saga, Rays ownership floated the idea of the team splitting time between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal.

"As long as we can rename them the Expos and them to Montreal, we will be happy. I don't think we want to steal anybody's baseball team. We just really want ours back," said Drake.

"For sure, they want the Rays. But I don't see it's possible. There's no way. It's a politics thing," said Lavoie.

While Montreal may want baseball back right now, they are concentrating on the Cup.

But the Lightning doesn't seem ready to give it up, no matter what the hockey history books say.