TAMPA, Fla. - Game 1 of the Stanley Cup semifinals kicked off at Amalie Arena Sunday in front of nearly 15,000 – the most in-person fans allowed inside all season.
Fans could be seen on their feet inside Amalie Arena Sunday, cheering on the Lightning in the first game of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
"It's awesome. We're in the third round. It's a chance for us to get back to the Stanley Cup and win it again back to back two years in a row. So how could we miss this right," lightning fan Jason Hoge said.
Sunday, the Bolts faced off against the New York Islanders in front of the most in-person fans they've had all season.
"After receiving approvals from local health and government officials, as well as the NHL, the Lightning will welcome approximately 14,800 fans for the Stanley Cup Semifinals," a team spokesperson said in a tweet Friday.
"It's nice to be out of COVID and have the fan action back. It's really exciting," lightning fan Susan Hoge said.
For Stacy Turk and her co-workers, the coveted tickets to Game One came as a surprise.
"Our boss got us tickets to this game so we're super pumped and excited," Turk's co-worker Melissa Kendall said.
Some of the cheapest tickets to Sunday's game were as much as $200, but that didn't keep fans from coming out. Thunder Alley was electric with a few hundred fans taking in the game on big screens.
"I actually looked at getting tickets to go inside for the first game and they were a little pricey and they were a little pricey for me so I thought this is a good alternative. It's a great alternative," lightning fan Craig Riley said.
Thunder Alley--which is usually free during the regular season--is charging $5 per person through the playoffs with all the money collected going to the Vinik Family Foundation.
It was an exciting start that fans hope ends with the Bolts bringing home back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.
"Everyone is super supportive of the city and the Lightning. We're just really excited to back in the playoffs again," lightning fan Jessica Johnson said.