TAMPA, Fla. – With Tropical Storm Elsa bearing down on Tampa, there are no current plans to postpone Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final scheduled for Wednesday night, multiple sources tell ESPN.
As of 2 p.m. local time, the National Hurricane Center had issued a hurricane warning for a portion of the Florida Gulf Coast as Elsa’s winds intensified. By Tuesday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens and NHL personnel had all arrived from Montreal, where the Canadiens won Game 4 to avoid a sweep and send the series back to Tampa.
Tampa International Airport announced that it was suspending operations at 5 p.m., with an eye toward reopening on Wednesday morning “after a storm assessment.”
Forecasts indicate the worst of the storm will be over by the afternoon on Wednesday. An NHL source said there was “zero chance” the game would be postponed based on that forecast, barring something unforeseen happening to Amalie Arena, for example.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press: “[We] will continue to monitor and make a call when we have to. We do have an amount of flexibility.”
The storm has made events outside the arena challenging for Game 5 of the series. The team may have to cancel a sold-out viewing party outside of the arena, although that call will be made on Wednesday. The NHL already cancelled a musical act it had scheduled for an outdoor event before Game 5.
With a 3-1 series lead, the Lightning have a chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice after winning last season’s in the Edmonton “bubble.”