After the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final on Friday, they are one win away from winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. While most of the world is returning to normal with COVID-19 vaccination rates improving, Quebec is not letting down their guard and as a result, did not approve of the Lightning players and staff’s families to fly into Montreal for Game 4 and a possible Stanley Cup post-game celebration.
“Annoyed,” one Lightning player said in a text message to ESPN. “But at this point I’m not surprised.”
The provincial government recently disapproved of the Canadiens’ proposal to increase capacity to 50% from 25% at Bell Centre for Game 3.
71.2% of Quebec’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 8,491,304 shots have been administered, including 2,145,169 in Montreal.
“I think they just didn’t want to risk the bubble being broken by a random person being brought in and risking it,” one veteran player told ESPN in September. “But it felt like they promised that and then pulled it away.”
The government only allowed Canadian families to come into the Edmonton bubble for the final two rounds of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs last September, so this will be the second straight season that not everyone in the families of the Lightning players will be allowed to attend a possible Stanley Cup clincher.
“Much like last year, we’re secluded, so we’re kept away from everybody,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Saturday, after his team took a 3-0 series lead against the Canadiens. “Actually it’ll be similar to last year if we’re fortunate enough to win because of just the scenario that’s gone on, what’s been agreed to.”
If the Lightning cannot close it out on Monday, Game 5 in Tampa Bay is set for Wednesday. Families will likely be allowed to come in for that game.
By Harrison Brown