The Eastern Conference Finals are headed to Boston for Game 5 Monday, but fans in Tampa Bay wanted to show the Lightning they'd still have support -- even though they'll be more than 1,300 miles away.
On Sunday morning, as the team's plane was set to depart from Tampa International Airport, about 500 fans donning blue jerseys and shirts congregated in the airport's economy parking lot. The fans formed a human lightning bolt, which was visible from the plane as it took off.
According to Lynn Wittenburg, the Lightning's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, players were fighting for window space so they could get to the right side of the plane to see the fans.
"It seemed like they were really excited," Wittenburg said. "I heard some hooting and hollering right before we lost connection, but they definitely saw the fans, and I think they're jazzed now to take the game back to Boston."
Tampa Bay forward Teddy Purcell said it really was special to see the fans show their support like that, and he's noticed a good buzz around the city during the playoffs.
His teammate, Ryan Malone, said the fan support has been like that all season long.
"The fans have been great," he said. "From Day 1, even in the season, they've stuck with us. And now in the playoffs, it's been electric in the building."