TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning did not get the Stanley Cup sweep they were hoping for. The Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination Monday night with a 3-2 overtime win.
The series shifts back to Tampa for game five, where the Lightning can become the first team to hoist the Stanley Cup on home ice since 2015.
“We missed an opportunity last night, our group knows that,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “You turn the page quick here this morning and realize what a great opportunity you have here as a team, as a group. We're up 3-1 in the series, you have to win one more. going into a place you’re familiar with, a fan base behind us. Try to win one game.”
Coach Jon Cooper remembers the last time a team won the cup on home ice. He was part of it six years ago when the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Lightning in game six in the United Center.
“I remember that moment vividly,” Cooper said. “There is that excruciating minute or two you have to afford the team to celebrate. A poignant moment in sports when it happens out of respect. I couldn’t watch it.”
Cooper and the Bolts look to make a new memory Wednesday night. The odds are still heavily in Tampa Bay’s favor with a 3-1 series lead. This a team that has not lost back-to-back games in the last two postseasons.
“Continue to have a competitive mindset,” McDonagh said. “At the end of the day, you hate to lose, sometimes you hate to lose more than we like to win. That's the identity of this group.”
The Lightning traveled home from Montreal empty-handed Tuesday. The Stanley Cup was on a separate flight, but they could be reunited with their familiar friend Wednesday night on home ice.