Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
When: 6:00 PM EDT | Tickets: Check availability
Media: Fox Sports Florida, NBC Sports Net (cable) | 970 AM WFLA (radio) | Twitter Live Stream
Opponent Coverage: Winging it in Motown, Abel to Yzerman
If head coach Jon Cooper continues to follow his habits, we'll see the same lineup and line combos this evening in game 5 for the Tampa Bay Lightning as we saw in game 4: Jonathan Drouin in, Brendan Morrow out, Jason Garrison playing again (though that one is iffy, he still is injured but played through it Thursday). Ben Bishop will be in goal, having to shrug off his mistakes and miscues from the previous outing.
What could give the Lightning an edge besides players stepping up? Is there a strategy to employ that will benefit the roster and lineup and give them an edge over the Red Wings?
Yeah, there is. It's you.
The Lightning are back at home and while creature comforts may boost them, another thing that boosts - and this goes for all sports when it's employed at the right time - is the crowd. Not all of a capacity crowd will be rooting for Tampa Bay - speaking of which, don't be a jerkface toward Red Wings fans; there's too much hostility toward visiting fans going on during the 2015 NHL playoffs and it's disgusting - but enough of those 19,204 in Amalie Arena are going to be in the building as the thunder that follows a strike of lightning.
What happens to be more powerful than being thunder is being unified, cohesive and supportive. While being loud is what's often cited with what Lightning fans can do at the Amalie, being intelligible is a hell of a lot more potent during game play than just white-noise.
One of the most troubling parts of the Lightning's game play this season has been on the power play, and it's continued in the NHL playoffs so far as the Bolts have a 9.5% efficiency in their four game splayed against the Red Wings. Credit Petr Mrazek, credit Mike Babcock's coaching of the Wings and their penalty kill unit, but also accept (as you have) that the man-advantage has been anything but for months now. This is where Tampa Bay can use a spark; this is where the Bolts could use something to rally around to raise their own game.
This is where you come in.
A couple of months back, Raw Charge community member Tankerkevo pitched a chant idea in the comments on an article about the Sticks of Fire Supporters Group: A chant specifically for use during the power play. It is all of two words, four syllables, and eight beats.
"Light-ning (clap, clap) Thun-der (clap, clap)"; imagine it timed with the more traditional sports chant of defense and you get a better idea of what it sounds like (or should sound like; chanting as fast as this Youtube clip from Tankerkevo wouldn't be intelligible, not with several hundred or thousand people doing it at once).
If you're going to be at Amalie Arena tonight, can you be the extra man during the power play and chant? Can you make a unified attempt to support the Lightning and raise their game? Can you, to borrow the club's marketing term, be the thunder in a whole different way? Not taunting, not white noise, not for fun and games during play stoppages, but to support the team on ice? That's all I'm proposing here.
In a more game-related note from the opposite end, Luke Glendening who left game 4 and whose departure was cited as a major reason the Lightning came back, will return to the lineup for Detroit this evening. The Lightning have won a game already with him in the lineup (5-1 final in game 2), so it's not as if Glendening's presence is too much to be overcome.
One fact that you should be aware of without me citing it is that the Bolts own only a 1-goal advantage over the Red Wings when the scores of all four previous games are combined (9-8) which follows how the Red Wings played most of the season - closely; the Wings finished the regular season holding only a +14 goal advantage over opponents (235-221).
Other Game Coverage:
- Tampa Bay Lightning official team preview
- Full coverage on SB Nation
- Live stream of Tampa Bay Lightning coverage on Twitter