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Lightning Round: Stadium Series gameday!

The Bolts arrived to Nashville for their first ever outdoor game

2022 NHL Stadium Series - Practice & Family Skates Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning arrived to Nashville for their first ever outdoor game. Later tonight they will face the Nashville Predators in a Stadium Series game at Nissan Stadium — home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. The Bolts are about to become the 27th team out of the current 32, to play in the outdoor game.

Both teams held their first practice at the ice of a rink installed in the middle of Nissan Stadium yesterday. The Lightning players showed up in a special Stadium Series jerseys with many of them wearing eye black to resist the glare from the lights.

The Lightning players and staff are obviously excited to play in the outdoor game. Many players remembered moments from their childhood, when they were playing in their local park rinks. Head coach Jon Cooper, who grew up in in Prince George, British Columbia, also remembered the time, when his father built a rink at his home [Tampa Bay Times]

“It was just your breath coming out, when you were cold and your feet are freezing and you just want to keep going,” Cooper said. “It was just like a flood of memories. And I just remember skating with my kids thinking I was their age when I was doing this. And we’re doing it in a huge stadium and I’m actually getting to be out there with them. That’s what’s great about the game. It just brings (you) back to when you were a kid.”

The weather conditions should be fine for an outdoor game. The highest temperature is expected to be 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but the biggest issue, however, could be a light rain, which started on Wednesday. Although the organisers are well-prepared, learning their lesson from the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, when the ice melted due to the rain prior to the game.

Meanwhile, many Lightning fans flooded Nashville, including our managing editor JustinG, who keeps a journal from his trip to a Stadium Series game in Nashville [Raw Charge]

I do remember that Lightning fans travel pretty well for big events from the Global Series a few years ago. Per my recollection there were way more Bolts fans than Buffalo Sabres fans. While we may not have the history of an Original Six team or the widespread appeal that teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins or Washington Capitals enjoyed as favored nation status with NBC, when it comes to showing up, Lightning fans do a pretty good job of it. Looking forward to running into some more as the night progresses.

Lightning Links

The Syracuse Crunch lost to the Rochester Americans in the overtime on Friday night. Gemel Smith scored his first goal after returning to Syracuse.

The Orlando Solar Bears released forward Sean Avery from his ECHL Standard Player Contract two days after he signed a contract with them. He didn’t appear in any game for the Solar Bears.

Hockey News

The recap of Friday’s night in the NHL.

The Arizona Coyotes signed defenceman Dysin Mayo to a three-year deal.

The Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price, who missed the season due to his knee injury, isn’t ready to return yet.