- Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final is set for Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Wednesday, July 7.
- NHL sources have dismissed suggestions that the game could be postponed due to severe tropical weather.
- The Lightning lead the series 3-1 and can close out the Habs in Game 5.
After two seasons of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic something ‘simple’ like severe weather is a piece of cake. That’s the message out of the NHL this afternoon as sources indicate that there is ‘zero chance’ Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final set for Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Wednesday, July 7 will be postponed due to severe tropical weather. The Tampa Bay Lightning lead the Montreal Canadiens 3 games to 1 in their best of seven series and can win the Stanley Cup on home ice with a victory.
As of Tuesday night, Hurricane Elsa had regained strength and was once again categorized as a Category 1 hurricane after dropping to tropical storm status earlier in the day. The storm was just off the coast from the Tampa Bay area with rain and win spreading inland across Southwest and West-Central Florida. As it crosses Florida, the storm is expected to lose strength before tracking up the Atlantic Coastline.
The Tampa Bay area is under a hurricane warning as the eye of the storm moves inland. The forecast for tonight is what you’d expect under the circumstances:
Hurricane conditions are expected tonight and early Wednesday along a portion of the west coast of Florida, where a Hurricane Warning is in effect. Tropical storm conditions are occurring across portions southwest Florida and will continue to spread northward along the west coast of the state within the warning area through Wednesday morning.
The Tampa International Airport (TPA) suspended commercial operations late Tuesday afternoon and cargo operations several hours later. The airport will remain closed overnight though it is planning to resume operations at 10 AM Eastern on Wednesday morning ‘after assessing the Airport property for storm damage’. Despite the upgrade in the storm’s status there has been no word of a change in plans from the airport:
Actually, NHL officials have given themselves an ‘out’ to their ‘zero chance’ statement. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly says that the league has some flexibility:
“[We] will continue to monitor and make a call when we have to. We do have an amount of flexibility.”
One scenario that could result in a postponement would be damage to Amalie Arena. Although this is the most obvious there are other possible circumstances that could necessitate a schedule change such as a power outage. The Canadiens were scheduled to arrive back in Tampa Bay on Tuesday afternoon so travel logistics won’t become an issue. The worst of the storm should be over by mid-morning on Wednesday and is expected to make landfall slightly north of the Tampa area.
At BetOnline.ag, Tampa Bay is a -223 favorite in Game 5 with takeback on Montreal at +199. The total on the game is 5 OV -125 with the UN priced at +113.